By Todd Johnson
For three straight summers, Chesney Young could do no wrong in the batter’s box. Beginning at Boise and Kane County in 2014, South Bend and Myrtle Beach in 2015, and Tennessee in 2016, Young appeared to roll out of bed every day and lace singles to all parts of the ballpark. It wasn’t until he hit AAA Iowa in 2017 did he have his first taste of a struggle.
While he has never been one to hit for power, Young has always displayed an adept bat a solid approach at the plate that was beyond his years. Originally a 14th round draft pick out of Mercer in 2014, Young had a career average of .314 after 2016 and he had just missed a batting title in the Southern League on a technicality in 2016 . What happened to him last year caught most minor-league followers by surprise…including myself.
Throughout 2017 Cheney Young was on a roller coaster. He was prime to be a utility player as he be at began to play all over the field in Tennessee. At Iowa and he started playing the outfield more and more but his monthly splits were abhorrent to say the least
Take a look at the 2017 splits for batting average:
April – .224
May – .367
June – .240
July – 300
August – .188
Once you start to dig deeper into the stats you see something very on Chesney like. He was striking out more and walking less than ever before. He whiffed 70 times in 2017 and only walked 33.
He also was pulling the ball more than 40% of the time. His previous high was 39% at Myrtle Beach. Usually Young went to right field more hitting as high as 61% at Boise and 43.5% at Myrtle Beach.
At the time, I found it odd that a guy who almost won the Southern League batting title to struggle so mightily at a level very similar in talent. There had to be something more.
As the 2018 season began, it looked like Chesney picked up where ended 2017 as he struggled only hitting 183. He struck out an unbelievable 23 times in just 60 ABs. However, things began to come around the next month. He’s back hitting baseballs all over right field. In May, he hit .325 with a .361 OBP, which are very much in line with his career averages before 2017. I was a little relieved but I still wanted to see how he did over time. Could he be consistent in June or would he falter?
Bad News and Good News
His first week of June did not start out like gangbusters as he went 3-for-21. He then found his groove, a really good one, that has lasted all month. Heading into the last days of June, He is currently hitting .299 for the month with only 8 Ks in 63 ABs. In his last ten games, he’s hitting .345. He might get his average above .300 for the second month in a row.
Chesny’s future value begins with his bat. If he can keep his bat profile consistent, it opens a lot of doors for him. He’s also been playing mostly 2B and 3B instead of all over the field. In 2017, he did everything but pitch and catch. Mainly playing the same two spots this year has to have helped put him at ease.
Going forward, Chesny needs to continue to be consistent. This year, so far, it looks like Chesny’s got his groove back.