KC Royals: Five Reasons Chris Young Can Continue to Dominate

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KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore found a perfect fit for his rotation when he signed Chris Young last winter.

Young dominated the Milwaukee Brewers Tuesday night, pitching seven shutout innings while allowing five hits and notching three strikeouts. Chris Young added two singles at the plate, and became the first American League pitcher to drive in three runs since 2008.

Not bad for a guy nobody but the KC Royals wanted last winter.

The 36-year-old Chris Young signed a 1-year, $675,000 deal with the Kansas City Royals because Dayton Moore was the only general manager willing to offer him a major-league contract. Young’s contract also includes approximately $5 million in performance bonuses.

Other teams lacked interest in signing the 6’10” Young, despite a solid 2014 campaign in Seattle in which he posted a 12-9 record and a 3.65 ERA in 31 starts. Though Young won the 2014 Comeback Player of the Year award, his fastball only averaged 85.2 miles per hour.

Apparently, other teams didn’t want to invest in Chris Young because they thought he was succeeding with smoke and mirrors. Or they could have been concerned with the shoulder issues that caused Young to miss the 2013 season.

Young has showed slightly improved velocity in 2015 with the KC Royals. His fastball has averaged 86.2 miles per hour in 2015, a full 1 mph jump over last season.

Yet, the real story with Chris Young is how Dayton Moore signed him to fill the long-relief role, with the possibility that he could move into the rotation in case of injury. Young threw five innings of no-hit baseball in his first start for Kansas City May 1, in place of Edinson Volquez who had been suspended for his part in a brawl against the Chicago White Sox.

Both Danny Duffy and Jason Vargas went to the disabled list soon after, causing Chris Young to move into the rotation.

Chris Young has been the best starter on the staff ever since.

For the season, Chris Young is 6-2, with a 1.98 ERA in 59.0 innings pitched and eight starts. He’s been the most reliable pitcher in a rotation that has struggled most of the season.

In fact, Chris Young has been so good that he would rank second in the American League in ERA behind Oakland’s Sonny Gray (1.60 ERA) if he had pitched enough innings to qualify.

Can Chris Young sustain this performance? Or do Kansas City Royals fans have to expect he will turn into a pumpkin (sabermetric guys would say “regress to the mean”) as the 2015 season wears on?

I humbly present five reasons why I think Chris Young will continue to dominate:

Next: Chris Young Looks Like He's Throwing Harder Than 86 MPH