2017 Eyewitness Evaluation: Kyle Young

Kyle Young, LHP

7’0″, 225 lb

Bats/Throws: L/L

Played for: Williamsport (Short Season A/New York-Penn League)

Date Seen: 7/7

Eyewitness Stats: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K, 66 pitches (47 strikes)

What the Numbers Say

2017 Williamsport: 13 G (all starts), 65 IP, 7-2, 2.77 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .237 opp AVG, 72/15 K/BB 58 H, 20 ER, 1 HR allowed, 2 HBP, 3 WP, 27.4 K%, 5.7 BB%

Statistically speaking, Kyle Young had probably had one one of the top two or three seasons by a Phillies pitching prospect. Young’s season is a tale of two halves: one dominate, the other just good. In his first seven starts, Young posted a 1.35 ERA, 40/8 K/BB and a .198 opp AVG in 33.1 IP; he would go less than five innings once and posted shutout appearances five times.. In his final six starts, he had a 4.26 ERA, 32/7 K/BB and a .274 opp AVG in 31.2 IP; in only one start he would allow more than two runs (allowed seven on 8/19), and he pitched into the sixth inning five times. Young also made 10 of his 13 starts on the road, which even with the chopped up scheduling of short season ball is a bit strange to look at.

Young’s splits vs RH and LH hitters were fairly similar. In 179 plate appearances, RH hitters hit .240 with a .578 OPS, nine doubles while striking out at a 25.1% K. Conversely, LH hitters hit .231 with a .581 OPS, two extra base hits (one home run) and a 32.1% K in 84 PA. It’s interesting to note, that last year that right handers only hit .213 with a .475 OPS in 82 PA. So Young has consistently made everybody uncomfortable in his brief professional career thus far.

 

Tale of the Tape

Young had the most impressive performance of any Phillies prospect I’d seen in 2017 (Ronald Acuna’s 7/24 performance for the Gwinnett Braves challenged him overall). On July 7th vs Mahoning Valley (Indians affiliate), he threw five shutout innings allowing one hit, now walks and struck out 11. He would get four on his fastball, four on his change-up and three on his curve and get 10 swing and miss strikeouts. He ended up striking out the last seven batters he faced. He would get hitters to swing and miss on 17 of his 69 pitches.

Young’s fastball has good arm-side run out of a 3/4 arm action delivery at 88-90 mph. And for someone his size he pinpoints it very well and keeps the ball down. While 88-90 sounds unimpressive, there are two things to consider. One is the obvious fact that there’s some weight to be gained for to make his seven foot frame more optimal, thus perhaps adding strength for increased velocity. But his height can create good extension towards the plate and strong deception out of the hand. So sometimes 89 on the gun can look like 94 to a hitter, something they don’t expect. Because of his fastball command, this allows him to use his change-up and curveball effectively. His change-up hovers around 79-82 mph with good fade and at times even fooled me as I thought it looked like closer to a fastball or sinker before checking back on the tape.It’s a pretty darn good complement to his fastball. His curveball is a slow big breaker at 75-78 mph, that at times can get slurvy. Mechanically, he stays a bit closed, gets a good push off the back rubber and consistently lands his front foot in the same spot. It’s impressive how clean and simple his mechanics are with all that length as a teenager.

 

What Lies Ahead

Young will begin 2018 in Lakewood, making this the first time he will play full season ball at 20 years old. Based on the 65 innings he threw for Williamsport, it would be reasonable to expect him to throw around 110-120 innings next year. Young might be one of the more fascinating players to track because there aren’t many baseball players like him. An article on Young back in spring training had him grow two inches and gaining 20 lbs since he was drafted back in June of 2016 in the 22nd round. It’s probably a good bet that he will add 20-25 more lbs to get closer to 250 and perhaps get his velocity more consistently in the low 90s. The current above-average command is a good sign early on for his chances to be a major league back-end starter. Even though his three pitches are likely to be no better than average, they will play better because of the advantage he gets from his height and his command. Kyle Young could probably end up being reasonably like Chris Young, who was 6’10” and has had a pretty good career (3.95 ERA, 1.25 WHIP in nearly 1300 innings). Unlike Chris, Kyle is more of a groundball pitcher (had a 53% groundball rate this season) which can be more preferable than allowing balls in play that have a chance to go out, There has never been a seven footer in baseball (Jon Rauch was the tallest at 6’11”). Kyle will aim to be the first.

Author: Jeff Israel

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