The Jays From The Couch 2019 Blue Jays Top Prospects List Continues With #15 – Chavez Young
It’s that time of year again! We’re counting down our Toronto Blue Jays Top Prospects for 2019. We’ve selected our Top 20 and will be profiling each one. You are bound to find many of these lists in your travels, which makes for great conversation. The basis for rankings varies even more than the number of lists you’ll find. Some prefer to look at how close to “big league ready” a prospect is, while others look at “stuff” or “tools”. To construct our list, we have scoured over scouting reports, numbers and a lot more to finalize our 2019 Top Prospects list. Feel free to weigh in on each selection in the comment section! It’s part of the fun!
When it comes to 2016 36th-rounder Chavez Young, one things stands out: speed. In the time it takes you to read this far, Chavez Young has stolen second *and* third and tracked down a liner in the gap. Chavez Young is very fast, extremely athletic, and someone the Toronto Blue Jays system has been lacking for a very long time.
Young is Bahamian, home to a grand total of six Major League baseball players. While Young was born there and spent most of his youth there, he moved to Georgia as a teenager and attended Faith Baptist Christian Academy in Ludowici and prepped for the 2016 MLB Draft. He had to wait a while, but the Jays eventually selected the 6′ 195 LB outfielder in thirty-sixth round.
It was, as they say, a steal.
Young will strike out. Most young players do, and some recover, some do not. Converting those 100 Ks from the 2018 season to almost anything else will certainly be a big developmental hurdle for Young in 2019, as he’ll likely start facing some stiff competition with High-A Dunedin in the Florida State League. After a .285/.353/.444 season with Lansing, there’s really nothing left for him to prove in the Midwest League.
But let’s look at some stats just to convince ourselves that he’s ready for the next step:
|Rk (||Rk (||Rk (||83||362||325||61||91||22||9||4||31||10||6||19||84||.280||.335||.440||.775||143||6|
Yes, he’s struck out 189 times in 808 plate appearances as a pro. That stands out. But usually with a K-rate of 23%, you would expect a low OBP. That’s not the case with Young, who’s posted a career rate in the minors at .335 – a number that jumped .031 from 2017 to 2018, against better competition.
There’s also the low power numbers. Right now in baseball, we’re obsessed with them. We’re pushing light-hitting guys out of the game for low-OBP, high-strikeout sluggers. To each their own, but a lineup requires a little bit of balance, and Chavez Young’s mix of speed and on-base prowess is not a trait to ignore, especially in an organization with a dearth of outfield talent.
And this is where it gets fun. While Young was reluctant to steal over his first couple pro seasons, the Lansing Lugnuts set him loose in 2018. Young, along with teammate Samad Taylor (don’t worry, you’ll be seeing him here soon, though he didn’t make our Top 20) swiped 44 bases in 57 attempts to be the only teammates in the Midwest League Top 5. Of course, this comes with a caveat – it was the Midwest league, after all:
My memory (and a look back through the years) tells me that every year features certain teams running wild on the bases, and I was glad we were one of them last year. Now: MWL catchers aren't great as a rule at catching runners, and pitchers aren't necessarily quick to the plate.
— Jesse Goldberg-Strassler (@jgoldstrass) January 19, 2019
Still, Chavez Young is a bit raw. At just 20 years old, he still has plenty of time to develop into the speedy outfielder fans have been dreaming of. Should he continue his current trajectory, we should be talking about him a lot more by the end of the 2020 season.
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Roy’s earliest memories all involve baseball from the early 90’s and the Blue Jays dream teams. He became a Blue Jays fan while watching Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green evolve in Syracuse, NY at the run-down confines of MacArthur Stadium, nestled between highway and swamp. A lifelong baseball player, Roy still plays (P, C, 2B, 3B) in the 25+ Syracuse MSBL for the Liverpool Mets. He watches almost all games with his best buddy Sebastian, a five year old Pug, who could care less.