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2020 Arizona Diamondbacks Reviews #18: Alex Young

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After a strong rookie season in 2019, Alex Young looked to continue that through the pandemic shortened season.

Sep 23, 2020; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Alex Young against the Texas Rangers at Chase Field Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
  • Rating: 5.13
  • Age: 27
  • 2020 Stats: 2-4, 1.40 WHIP, 85 ERA+
  • 2020 Salary: $575,000 (league minimum)
  • 2021 Status: Pre arbitration

Introduction

Alex Young put together a strong, if not spectacular, rookie season in 2019. He started fifteen games and came out of the bullpen for two with the Diamondbacks that year, putting up an ERA+ of 126, slightly above league average. Luck may have had something to do with his success, given that he had a BABIP of just .253.

Despite doing well as the fifth starter last season, he went into the season destined for the bullpen, due to the arrival of Madison Bumgarner to the team during the offseason. There was a brief chance he may make the starting five after Mike Leake opted out, but lost out on the spot to Merrill Kelly and started the season in the bullpen.

2020 Review

His first seven appearances were in the bullpen, and he started off strong. In his first four appearances, the only earned run he gave up was a home run in his second game against the Los Angeles Dodgers*. After those appearances, the stat line doesn’t look quite as good, but it’s mostly brought down by back to back games in Coors, which isn’t kind to any pitcher. In all, he was throwing at a 4.66 ERA, with three homeruns, and a BABIP of .231, which was almost exactly what last season. Not spectacular, but hardly the worst pitcher the Diamondbacks were employing either.

He was pitching well enough overall that when Madison Bumgarner went down with a back injury in August, Tory Lovullo gave him the rotation spot. His moderate success that he had been having in the bullpen did not follow him, however. His ERA ballooned by over a run to 5.65 for the remainder of the season. This was in large part because of his home runs jumping to eight given up in only one more game. Additionally, his BABIP skyrocketed to .301, which only served to make his life more difficult.

A step back is usually to be expected in a sophomore season. It’s even more understandable given the circumstances his season was faced with, so his performance drop off wasn’t entirely surprising. Ultimately, he stayed healthy all season, something some much bigger names weren’t able to do, and that was a huge boon for a team that saw it’s pitching depth challenged. The final results on the mound weren’t promising, though, so how he responds next season will go a long way to showing the team what they have in their former second round pick.

2021 Outlook

As of right now, Young projects to be in the starting rotation for the Diamondbacks, following the departures of Leake and Ray. Like last season, however, that could change quickly if Hazen chooses to add to the starting rotation. In a perfect world, that would probably be the best outcome for everyone, but as we have all heard repeatedly, there just isn't’ room in the budget for much of any Free Agents signings. Either way, it seems reasonable to assume that Young will be a part of the team. The question only remains on which half of the pitching staff he’ll appear with.