Friday, April 10, 2015
CHRIS YOUNG: THE DIFFERENCE MAKER
It all started with hustle. A little flare in no man’s land down the right field line exactly where the second baseman, first baseman and right fielder would all have a tough play. It turned into a double and started the Yankees eighth inning rally to beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night. Chris Young was the man who busted it out of the box and had every intention of getting to second base. He then scored on a wild pitch that brought the Yankees within a run. With the hustle, a couple hits and several Blue Jays miscues, the Yankees won their first game of the 2015 season in exciting fashion.
Right after the 2014 World Series ended, the Yankees inked OF Chris Young to a one year deal. With several of the Yankees outfield prospects not quite ready for the Big Leagues, the Yankees made it a point to sign Young as soon as the off season ended as their fourth outfielder. They were obviously interested and the signing paid off Wednesday due to his hustle and good base running.
Young played in 23 games for the Bombers in 2014 and followed it up with 88 for the Mets. He struggled to hit for average for the cross-town rival Mets, but did put up 11 home runs in 254 at-bats. Young has some good power and has four 20 home run seasons including 32 in 2007. For the spring, Young belted three homers, drove in ten runs and added three doubles while batting .286 to solidify his role with the Yankees. He is the kind of guy the Yankees need.
With some of the question marks in the Yankees order, and let’s be realistic, there are numerous, Young could, and should, earn himself some playing time throughout the year. Carlos Beltran hasn’t been a fraction of what the Yankees have hoped for and Alex Rodriguez played his first regular season game in over 18 months on Opening Day. On top of those two, Mark Teixeira is no longer the guy the Yankees signed to a long-term deal many moons ago, or so it seems. Tex has been nothing short of pathetic offensively. Sorry to say buddy!
Chris Young showed on Wednesday some of what the Yankees have been missing; Fire and energy. As soon as he hit the ball he hustled out of the box and beat the throw to second, getting the crowd and bench in the game and the Yankees rally started. It seems over the last couple years there have been fewer and fewer moments like that on the field for the Yankees and it was overdue.
I could see Young spelling Carlos Beltran more and more in the OF if Beltran doesn’t hit. He could also give Gardner a day off, especially against left-handed pitching. Alex Rodriguez is still an unknown. He could be the ARod of old, or he could be washed up. I’m optimistic but not convinced either way yet.
While Garrett Jones will likely see some at-bats at the DH position against tough right-handers, he will also surely play some first base and could allow Young to get some swings from the DH spot. Either way you draw it up, Young must be given at-bats, some way or another.
The Yankees can’t afford to limp along again this season with their aging, struggling vets. They need to make things happen. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury will have to get on base and utilize their speed to get the offense rolling, but they must also have their ‘sluggers’, and I use that term loosely until proven otherwise, drive them in. Their current three through six hitters (Beltran, Teixeira, Brian McCann and Chase Headley) combined for an unimpressive .231 average, 73 home runs and 235 RBI. That’s between FOUR guys! We can categorize it as a bad season, sure, but if things don’t improve, it’s more than that.
This is where, I believe, Young, Jones and possibly some call-ups must come into play. Bat Young and Jones fifth, sixth or seventh or so and allow them some opportunities to produce some runs, someone has to! The Yankees can’t continue to just be as flat and have this lackluster, are they going to score any runs tonight, kind of offense. While Young isn’t expected to blast 30 home runs again necessarily, each team needs someone to create a spark and Chris Young was that guy who led the Yankees to their first victory of the season.
Hopefully the club builds on that exciting victory from Wednesday and gets the offense rolling plus some solid starts from the back of their rotation. The offense could come alive and my bickering is all for not and I hope it does but I’m just calling it like I see it. Young led the eighth inning rally and the team to their first win and if things don’t improve from where we left off last year, Young better find himself in this kind of position more and more often. Someone has to make it happen!!
You've made BYB the fastest growing Yankees fan site in history. Now shop at the Bleeding Yankee Blue store! Follow me on Twitter @BleednYankeeBlu and LIKE Bleeding Yankee Blue on Facebook! Also, don't forget to check out the BYB Hub!