Chris Young Playing Himself Out Of Oakland Athletics Outfield Rotation

By Thom Tsang
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

At this rate, Chris Young wouldn’t be good enough to start in any MLB team’s outfield, let alone one with four other capable starters on it.

When the Oakland Athletics originally traded for Young’s $8.5 million salary in what is more than likely the final year of his contract (assuming the team does not exercise his $11 million option in 2014, which is basically a given at this point), it was largely thought to be a sensible deal, as much of the salary had been negated by what the team would have been paying Cliff Pennington through 2014 anyway.

As it turns out, even that seemingly reasonable amount of money spend might turn out to be a total loss.

With a .182/263/.357 triple slash through 160 PA thus far in 2012, Young, a former All-Star, is easily on his way to a career-worst season at age 29. Though he’d at least contributed to the team in the power department with four home runs in April, even that has disappeared since, as he’s only hit one home run since April 24.

Including his 0-for-4 performance (with two strikeouts) on Thursday against the Chicago White Sox, Young’s latest slump now sits at 0-for-9; but considering that he’d been riding an 0-for-17 run to end the month of May, it’s clear that his latest struggles go way deeper than that … as if his overall .619 OPS didn’t paint a stark enough picture already.

Even worst is the fact that defense, once his strong suit, has mostly been an outright liability this season, with the outfielder owning a career-worst -8.1 UZR/150 along with a -5 DRS thus far.

Perhaps it’s the case that the quad injury that landed Young on the DL is still adversely affecting his game, but given that he’s already a below-replacement level performer at this point (-0.3 fWAR), it’s difficult for the A’s to continue starting him at all … outside of the fact that they’re paying him a fair bit of money to do so, of course.

Now, I’d look into his advanced numbers a little more closely, but all you really need to know is that he’s popping the ball up at a career-high rate of 23.1 percent. If he were to qualify, that would make him the AL king of the infield fly.

So yeah, that .200 BABIP? Not really a fluke.

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