New York Mets News

Chris Young is playing himself out of the lineup

By Danny Abriano

The Mets signed Chris Young to a one-year deal worth $7.25 million early in the offseason, and the immediate response was negative. After a deeper look into Young’s stats (especially his low BABIP in 2013) and potential value was given, most came around to at least be okay with the signing.

May 4, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; New York Mets left fielder Chris Young (1) following the win over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Mets defeated the Rockies 5-1.Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

So far in 2014, Young is making the immediate reaction to his signing look like the correct one.

In 102 at-bats thus far, Young has a triple slash of .206/.283/.363.

More recently, Young has gone 2 for is last 24.

Aside from failing to produce at the plate, Young’s defense – which had the reputation for being plus – has been poor. He’s looked slow in the outfield, and has failed to catch and cut off balls that above average outfielders ordinarily get to.

In April (which Young missed roughly half of due to injury), he hit .205. Thus far in May, he’s hitting .206.

Young’s low BABIP in 2013, which most thought was an aberration, is identical in 2014. It currently sits at .237.

Part of the problem in 2014 is that Young’s line drive percentage is down roughly seven percent, and his ground ball rate is up.

With Juan Lagares and Curtis Granderson expected to play nearly every day, Chris Young’s hold on a starting outfield spot should be getting looser. However, there are two things that are on his side.

The first (and most important) factor, is the size of his contract. The second, is the fact that Eric Young, Jr., who Chris Young is fighting for playing time with, is 3 for his last 29.

One thing that might start to eat away at Chris Young’s playing time is the presence of Eric Campbell, who manager Terry Collins said last night would start to get some time in the outfield. If Campbell, who has scalded the ball since getting called up from Triple-A, does indeed start to see time in the outfield, it will almost certainly be at the expense of Chris Young.

There is still time for Chris Young to turn things around. However, if he doesn’t, the Mets will have to bite the bullet and make him a platoon player who only sees action against left-handed pitchers. If Young continues to struggle and the Mets keep playing him regularly, most will correctly assume he’s only in there because of what he’s getting paid.