Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Even before he got his chance when Jason Vargas was injured, there were people calling for Chris Young to join the rotation. Given the ineffectiveness of most of the rotation throughout the season, it was certainly understandable. Then, when Young threw five no hit innings with nine strikeouts in a spot start, the buzz reached a crescendo.
In the rotation, at least for the time being, due to the Vargas injury, Young has continued to perform far beyond what the Kansas City Royals could have realistically expected. In his eight appearances, including two starts, Young has posted a 0.78 ERA and a 0.522 WHiP. In those 23 innings, Young has struck out 19 batters against only five walks. His performance has truly been what the Royals have desperately needed.
Obviously, no one can expect that Chris Young will continue to perform at this level. Opponents are hitting at a mere .091/.146/.143 rate against Young, with a 14.3% line drive rate. Meanwhile, Young has taken full advantage of the Royals excellent outfield defense, as he has generated a fly ball on 58.9% of balls put in play.
Eventually, Young will likely perform at a level closer to what he has been through his career. However, now that he is healthy, it is possible that Young will pitch like the starter that was with the Mariners last year. Coming back from a year off due to injury, Young posted a 12-9 record with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.230 WHiP.
While Chris Young is not going to be this dominant all year, it would not be a surprise if he remained in the Kansas City Royals rotation, and ended up being one of their better starters.
Next: So what have we learned?