Name: Andy Young
DOB: 5/10/1994 (Age 24)
Acquired: 2019 Trade with STL
Position: Second Baseman
Most Notable Tool: Hit Tool
Season Stats: 119 G, 503 PA, .289/.379/.479, 13 2B, 3 3B, 21 HR, 58 RBI, 61 R, 38/85 BB/K, 4/6 SB, 105 wRC+ for A+ Palm Beach and AA Springfield
2018 Season Summary: Despite his 37th round draft pedigree, Young put himself on the prospect map with a solid 2017 season with solid numbers across the board. 2018 was more of the same, but also included a reduction in strikeouts while still hitting for a solid average with respectable OBP skills and power numbers. A solid showing in the Florida State League for High A Palm Beach earned Young a promotion to AA Springfield where in just 35 games put up a show offensively. That resulted in an invitation to the Arizona Fall League, where he continued to impress people with a .301/.416/.521 slash in a 89 PA sample against other top prospects. That Fall League performance likely attracted attention from the Diamondbacks and a big reason why he was included in the Paul Goldschmidt trade.
Tools: Hit 50/55, Power 50/55, Speed 45, Defense 45/50
Young does a good job of getting the ball in the air, with a ground ball rate below 40% in the 2018 season and only two stops where it was above that mark (2016 in Short A and 2017 in High A). On top of that, there may be potential for an above-average BABIP skill as he’s posted minor league marks from .320-.340 at every stop aside from a .304 mark in Palm Beach in 2018 (still put up a 137 wRC+ despite that). There may be more projectable power in the future, despite only hitting 41 and 37 XBH the previous two seasons. It may actually be a result of the environment in the FSL, as he had an XBH of 6.6% playing for Palm Beach vs. 10% elsewhere over the last two seasons. Despite walk rates of 7.0 and 7.5% the past two years, Young maintains a high OBP skill thanks to his ability to get hit by pitches (48 the last two seasons). Some players have turned that into a skill (Hello Chase Utley, Anthony Rizzo, and Carlos Quentin), so that will be something to monitor. Defense and baserunning will likely be either even or just slightly negative, depending on where he plays on the infield. As a utility player, he might have below average marks defensively vs. slightly positive if stuck to one position. In terms of reps, he is a bit behind your typical AA 2B prospect given that he moved all over the diamond in 2017, but that’s something I believed will get ironed out when he catches up.
Upside: Young has the upside of an average regular at either 2B or 3B. Given the current state of the farm system and MLB roster, 2B seems more likely with Drew Ellis and Pavin Smith likely to start the year at the same level. Given that I believe at that position his defense and baserunning will be close to MLB average, the bar for him to be an average regular with the bat is just to hit MLB average. Given that he’s posted wRC+ totals north of 100 at every stop so far, including a 158 output in Peoria in 2017 and 137 with Palm Beach in 2018, I believe it’s not unreasonable to think he can pass that bar. From a comparison standpoint, a player he reminds me a lot of is another infielder the Diamondbacks picked up this offseason in Wilmer Flores.
Risk: There isn’t a lot of risk from a projection standpoint, it’s just a matter of giving him more ABs in the upper minors with only 157 career PA above A ball. Young has always been slightly older than his peers at every stop, although I believe that’s more to do with being drafted as a senior out of Indiana State.
Likely 2019 Assignment: Young will likely start the season with AA Jackson, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees action with Reno before the All-Star Break. For the most part, Young’s skill set is mostly developed and he just needs a bit more polish against more advanced minor league pitching. I think they will give him somewhere between 200-300 plate appearances before making a call on a promotion. Defensively they will likely stick him at 2B to continue his development at what I believe will be his best position fit. Given that he’s Rule 5 eligible after the season, he will be added to the 40-man roster by November 2019 perhaps even sooner if some amazing happens.
ETA: 2020 Season
Note: Young was picked up the Diamondbacks after I established this list, so there is no number on the title, but in the 2019 Preseason List would rank #8 in the system.