Left-handed pitching is a valuable commodity. Teams are forever looking for quality lefties that can either balance out their rotation or be that one guy in the bullpen that can get out a tough left-handed hitter late in a tight ballgame. Outside of Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray and Andrew Chafin, finding a good lefty for the Arizona Diamondbacks has proven to be quite the chore. However, in the last two drafts, the D-backs have used a high pick on a left-handed pitcher in the hopes he can be developed into a bona fide Major League pitcher. We have already reviewed Cody Reed, one of the organization’s second round pick in 2014. Today, we take a look at Alex Young.
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How he came to the organization: The 22-year old Young was taken with the 43rd overall selection in the 2015 Draft. He pitched for three seasons at TCU, the same school that produced Kansas City Royals’ 2014 first round pick Brandon Finnegan. For his first two seasons with the Horned Frogs, Young was primarily a reliever having made 40 out of 44 appearances out of the bullpen. As a freshman, opponents hit just .057 off him. TCU went to the College World Series in both his sophomore and junior years. In 2014, he struck out 40 batters and walked 16 in 43 innings pitched. Young was converted to a starter before his junior year and finished second on the team in wins, ERA and innings pitched while leading the Big 12 in strikeouts with 103. In the CWS, he held Vanderbilt hitless for six innings before a solo home run in the seventh ended TCU’s title hopes. Young tied a CWS record with 12 strikeouts in the game. He was twice named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week and was First Team All-Big 12 as well as Second Team Academic All-Big 12.
Minor League career: After signing with the D-backs, Young was sent to Arizona’s Rookie League squad where he pitched exactly one inning for them before being bumped up to Hillsboro of the Northwest League. When the D-backs drafted him, management envisioned Young’s future as a starter rather than a reliever. His professional career hasn’t started out that way as in six games for the Hops, Young started only one of them. In total, he threw six innings and allowed one earned run on five hits and one walk while striking out five. The limited outings are probably a result of the amount of innings he threw in his final season at TCU.
Where he will be in 2016: There is no doubt that Young will start the year at a Class A level. The question is, which one? Given his experience with a lot of pressurized games in college and the fact he will turn 23 in September, the Visalia Rawhide of the California League seems the likely destination. As long as he progresses the way Arizona envisions him doing, he will be at Double A Mobile by the end of the year. A player who three years of college ball before turning pro should reach the Majors more quickly than someone drafted out of high school. Young should be in a D-backs’ uniform by the end of 2017.