Chris Young: Gives the Mets Hope in the Starting Rotation

Bleacher ReportContributor IIIApril 6, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - APRIL 05: Starting pitcher Chris Young #55 of the New York Mets throws a pitch during the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on April 5, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Chris Young Final Line: 5.1IP 5H 1R 1ER 4BB 7K 1.00 GB/FB Ratio 

Chris Young's problems over the last few seasons have coincided with his durability, and not his ability to pitch. Young can be a good back-end starter because of his ability to get strikeouts and to consistently sustain a low BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and HR/FB ratio. 

Young's stuff doesn't fool anyone, but his 6'10" frame allows him to release the ball extremely high that makes it difficult for hitters to pick up the baseball. He demonstrated in last night's start that he can be a formidable back of the rotation starter, even with his diminished velocity.    

Young's line was impressive, especially his seven strikeouts. Young threw 60 fastballs to the Phillies hitters, and he recorded one strikeout on three swings and misses. Young only averaged only 85.5 mph. He topped out at 89 mph in the first inning, but the velocity was down to 83 mph during at-bats to the last few hitters. Four out of the five hits allowed were on fastballs.  

Young's off-speed pitches are the key to his success, and he had two of them working last night. His changeup was his best pitch, throwing 24 and getting five swinging strikes (four strike outs). He featured the pitch mostly to the left-handed hitters in the Philly lineup. He featured his slider 13 times, recorded three swinging strikes, two of them for strikeouts. Young did feature his slow 67 mph curveball twice, but neither of them were for strikes.

The changeup has been a pitch Young has shied away from over the last few years, only using it 7.5 percent of the time during his career. He did show a renewed commitment to the pitch by throwing it 23.3 percent of the time during last night's performance.   

Young has never been a great control pitcher, but he threw 57 percent of his pitchers over for strikes. Because of his below average velocity, he sometimes nibbles, which will lead to an increased walk total. Young has proved he succeeds in a pitcher's park like PETCO Park, so Citi Field should help him keep a low HR/FB percentage, and low BABIP.  

Can Young give the Mets more than 20 starts this season or will he throw 20 innings like last season? Nobody knows, but the Mets will need him to make any type of run in the NL East.