Fantasy Baseball Sleepers 2012: Can Chris Young Blow Up This Season?

Ryan LesterSenior Writer IApril 4, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 04:  Chris Young #24 of the Arizona Diamondbacks is greeted at the dugout by manager Kirk Gibson after Young scores in the fifth inning on a single by Ryan Roberts #14 against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Three of the National League Division Series at Chase Field on October 4, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Arizona Diamondback Chris Young has long been an enigma. He possesses a combination of power and speed that few others can match, but he remains a fantasy liability thanks to his Mark Reynoldsesque .240 lifetime batting average.

His average prevents him from getting into the high nineties in runs scored, and his strikeout rate (22.8 percent lifetime) cuts down on his RBI opportunities.

Still, he has scored at least 85 runs and hit 20+ HRs in four of the last five seasons, he has had 20+ steals in three of the past five seasons and he has 85+ RBI in two of the past four seasons.

You wouldn’t think he’d have much upside considering his track record and the way he fell apart last year. He was hitting a modest .262 with a solid .817 OPS before the All-Star break. Then the wheels came off. His .149 batting average and .572 OPS in August paved the way for a pathetic .193 average and .641 OPS after the break.

At 28, with more than five years of big league experience, it’s easy to consider someone set in their ways.

He has, however, worked on his mechanics, including adjusting his hands, and those changes have been paying dividends this spring. If he can hit even .260 or .270 with his 20-20 HR-SB combination, he will be a nice value for fantasy owners.

His current Mock Draft Central ADP is 122, which puts him in the 11th round of 12-team leagues. He is currently the 32nd outfielder to come off the board. He easily has the ability to become a top-20 fantasy outfielder.

I don’t expect Young to suddenly compete for a batting title, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he put up his best season to date.

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