How about that Chris Young? The Yankees fourth outfielder went 3-for-3 with a HR and two walks on Tuesday evening, and played solid defense in RF in place of Carlos Beltran. With the home run, Young entered a three way tie on the team, even though he is only 10th in ABs. He was instrumental in the Yankees evening the series with Detroit at one game apiece, and was a solid backup to Nathan Eovaldi’s great start.
When Young re-signed with the Yankees early in the offseason, it definitely caused me to raise an eyebrow. He’d done well in his short stint with the Yankees at the end of 2014, posting a .282 average and hitting 3 HRs in just 23 ABs. I thought he would at least shop around for a full-time role. Instead, he came back to the Yankees early in November on a 1-year, $2.5MM deal with incentives based on PA’s. At the time, it seemed like he was locking himself into a future as only a role player. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner leading the team in games played last year, and Beltran locked into a $17MM deal and presumably healthy after off-season surgery, it seemed like somewhat of an odd choice for the still relatively youthful Young.
Turns out, he might have known exactly what he was doing. Beltran may not be completely healthy and could be forced into a platoon until he sorts himself out, and Girardi is determined to give his two speedsters in the outfield days off here and there. With all that movement, Young just might be forcing his way into the lineup on a regular basis. Girardi essentially confirmed as much during the post-game show on the YES Network when he commended Young’s performance, saying, “I’ll find a spot for him tomorrow.”
While Young seems relatively content with his role as a fourth outfielder, saying during the post-game show, “I knew my situation when I came over here,” he could still have a few years as a productive regular and, if he continues to play this well, he may just get a 2 year deal to prove it.
For now, though, the Yankees will just keep playing him and hoping for his production to continue. It may be just a hot streak, but it’s coming at a good time for the team and should serve Young well in the future.