Diamondbacks’ centerfielder Chris Young has had an impressive spring. Well, impressive is an understatement.
The D-Backs slugger has hit .400 this spring with an outstanding .500 OBP and .691 SLG–that’s a 1.191 OPS if you’re not that good at math. Young has also walked 9 times. In 55 at-bats Young has struck out just 8 times–a far cry from his career strikeout average of one in less than every four at-bats. It would appear that perhaps Young is finally ready to turn to corner, then. He might blossom this season from a player with dynamic intangibles who hasn’t quite reached his full potential, to a bona fide All-Star. If his spring is an indication of his 2012 season, then it seems to be a foregone conclusion that Young is knocking on the door of greatness.
However, while it’s easy to draw conclusions based upon his spring stats, it’s probably not the correct thing to do. Hot springs for Young have come to be the norm. While he has a career .240 average in the regular season, outside of his first spring in 2007 with the Diamondbacks, Young has never hit less than .298 in any spring session. Overall, his career spring training average is an incredibly healthy .312. Perhaps it’s sub-quality pitching, small crowds and less expectations or simply cozier ballparks–but Young has always been a superstar in the spring. I’d love to tell you that he’s going to break out this season and instill the faith of the Diamondbacks front office–but I can’t tell you that simply based upon the numbers he’s putting up this spring. There is simply too much of a track record to suggest that once the regular season games come around, we’ll see Young’s average dip below .250. That doesn’t mean he can’t become that player, he’s definitely talented enough. Keep a close eye on Young the first few weeks of the regular season. If he starts hot, then it could be a good sign that he is finally becoming the player we all think he should be.
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