photo: Andy Young (Allison Rhoades/Peoria Chiefs)
by The Cardinal Nation staff
|NR||3B||05 10 94||6-0||195||R||R||2016||37th|
Link to Young’s player page at The Cardinal Nation, with additional biography and history information.
Selected 2017 stats
TCN Scouting Grade: 3.5, Risk: Medium (click here to review scales)
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Message board community (50): Andy Young, a 6’0” tall second baseman drafted in 2016, jumped into the community rankings for the first time in 2017, finishing at #50. Bccran put Young on the list first with a vote at #34.
Last year, Young even got a vote at #60 from 14NyquisT. He stated at the time that Young is a hard worker and has speed with a good knowledge of the game, also saying that he had a feeling about this guy. This year, 14NyquisT was equally complimentary of Young saying that he was the main spark for Peoria for two months and was impressed with his quick movement within the organization up to Springfield. He also thought that Young displayed a great go-getter attitude and liked his ability to play multiple infield positions. Bccran was also complimentary of Young, stating that 17 home runs and eight stolen bases is a nice showing in his first year of professional baseball. – Jeremy Byrd
Derek Shore (44): When he was drafted back in 2016, Andy Young was hoping to catch on as a utility infielder after being drafted in the 37th round by the Cardinals.
Fast forward following his first full season, Young has asserted himself as one of the top offensive prospects in the organization.
Young, 23, signed out of Indiana State University as a senior third baseman, who had struggled after a strong junior season. In his junior and senior years for the Sycamores, the West Fargo, North Dakota native accumulated 424 at-bats that included a .297/.397/.488 line along with 13 homers, 40 doubles, six triples, and 60-to-40 strikeout to walk ratio. As a senior, Young tied for second on the team in homers with six and OPS with a .894 mark.
The right-handed hitter was a big-time middle of the order presence for Indiana State. With an adept ability to drive the ball, his bat was expected to act as his carrying tool in the pro ranks.
As an older prospect, Young opened his pro career in the Gulf Coast League before finishing his draft year at State College. A year later, he found himself at low-A Peoria with much to prove.
Young was up to the task, posting a .284/.379/.545/.924 slash line with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in the first half of the season with the Chiefs while making the midseason Midwest League All-Star team.
“I think he is a guy with a really efficient swing,” Peoria manager Chris Swauger said. “What he does at the plate is very, very simple. Mechanically, he’s a guy at this level, who had a lot of success.”
By June 19, Young fully mastered the Midwest League, earning a promotion to high-A Palm Beach, where he held his own to the tune of a .265 average and .715 OPS. He finished his first full season with a cup of coffee at Double-A Springfield.
The adjustments made in his mechanics during spring training – adding a leg kick – proved to be the power source for Young.
“We have devices we put on our players at spring training that measure their body mechanics, their swings, every movement,” Chiefs hitting coach Donnie Ecker told the Peoria Journal Star back in June. “Young had a launch angle of 10 degrees when we measured him. We added a little leg kick, just lifts that leg a bit, and now his launch angle is 20 degrees. He’s become a terrific hitter.”
With a free-swinging approach, though, Young’s 104-to-33 strikeout to walk ratio does bring up some cause for concern around the organization.
“We continue to preach to him to continue to refine his approach because that is what will serve him best as he gets to the upper levels and there are not as many mistakes being made in the strike zone,” Swauger said.
His skipper at Palm Beach saw the struggles first-hand in the Florida State League, but liked his defensive progress more.
“Andy is still a young player, still learning,” manager Dann Bilardello said. “I think the part hitting-wise was at times he got a little long and struggled a little bit. You can see there is potential there.
“Defensively, he is just going to have to learn to position plays. Position himself well and learn the hitters. Take what the hitter does according to who is on the mound. Position himself better that will give him better range in the infield.”
In the field, Young provides versatility, playing primarily at second base while mixing in at shortstop and third base on occasion.
“I think he is a really good second baseman,” Swauger said. “I think that is probably his best position, but he is very serviceable at short (and third).”
Even for a prospect with a $3,000 signing bonus, Young has a chance to have a major-league future if he continues to progress as hoped.
“He has the tools and has unbelievable power,” Swauger said. “Defensively, he can fill in at a lot of different spots. He is a really quality utility guy on any team that coupled with his bat-potential makes him an exciting guy.
“From what I saw the most from him was just intensity and passion for the game. He loves showing up every day and loved being in the lineup and just getting out there and competing. That will serve him well when you couple that with his talent.”
Brian Walton (51): There is no doubt a 37th-rounder has to work harder to draw attention to himself. Being honest, Young was not on my radar coming into this season, but now, he is on mine – and others’ too.
Even so, I am not as far along in praise of Young as Derek. Undoubtedly, Young had a very strong first half, but that is not enough for me to be ready to proclaim him to be among the top offensive prospects in the system. That certainly could occur with a sustained performance in his age 24 season in 2018, however.
While Young had a standout stint at Peoria, with an extraordinary wRC+ of 158, his second half at Palm Beach was far more ordinary, coming in at 110. (100 is team- and league-adjusted average.) The latter wRC+ was comparable to his 2016 performance at State College, which while good, was not enough to resonate into these prospect rankings one year ago.
Young did not stand out in comparison with other college-trained middle infielders at State College in 2016. To be more specific, Young’s .720 OPS was 43 points lower than Dylan Tice’s and 107 points under Tommy Edman. Edman is considered a definite prospect, while Tice is not. (Their respective wRC+ marks were Edman 151, Tice 132 and Young 115.)
But that was then and this is now. The swing plane adjustment driven by a leg kick explained above apparently contributed to Young’s increased power. While his strikeout rate remains well above 20 percent, it did not increase with his Midwest League power surge. That is somewhat encouraging.
Yet those later Palm Beach results were mixed. Young’s .715 OPS was under Magneuris Sierra’s .744 but above Edman’s .695. Interestingly, the power-challenged Sierra outslugged Young in the Florida State League by 20 points.
I go through all these comparisons not to run Young down, but to explain why I would like to see more sustained performance before I proclaim a breakout has occurred.
In his prospect list debut, Young receives a Scouting Grade of “3.5 medium”. This reflects a potential future somewhere between a spot starter and an up and down player, with some work remaining ahead to achieve it.
The fact Young was given a brief familiarity with Double-A Springfield may give him a leg up to open next season – though that is far from a sure thing. Due to other infielders above, the road may initially be blocked. My early projections have 2017 starters Darren Seferina and Edman along with infield reserves Jacob Wilson and Bruce Caldwell back in the Texas League to open 2018.
Our 2018 top 50 series continues
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