May 27, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Kansas City Royals third basemanMike Moustakas
(8) is greeted in dugout by relief pitcher Chris Young (32) after his home run in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
5) Chris Young Is A Perfect Fit For The KC Royals
Chris Young has never had a defensive and home park that suits him as well as the Kansas City Royals and Kauffman Stadium.
Chris Young is an extreme fly ball pitcher. For his career, hitters put 74.6% of batted balls in the air against him. His nemesis has always been the gopher ball.
In right field, the Kansas City Royals have four-time Gold Glove winner Alex Gordon. Lorenzo Cain patrols center, who currently ranks second among outfielders in major league baseball with 11 Defensive Runs Saved DRS). The Royals currently play Alex Rios in right, but will substitute speedy Jarrod Dyson in the late innings.
Those guys can run down the baseball.
As a team, the KC Royals lead the majors with 43 Defensive Runs Saved. The next closest team is the Diamondbacks, with 30.
More importantly, in Kansas City, Chris Young has found an organization who believes in a pitch-to-contact philosophy. General Manager Dayton Moore has filled his rotation with pitch-to-contact innings eaters like Jeremy Guthrie, Jason Vargas, and Edinson Volquez.
Chris Young is just another addition to an already-established approach to pitching.
While Chris Young’s low strikeout rate and unusually low Batting Average Balls In Play (BABIP of .199) suggest he’s just riding a hot streak, the above reasons indicate he’s got more going on than meets the eye.
While abnormally low, Chris Young’s BABIP isn’t exactly an accident. For his career, he sports an unusual .249 BABIP (league average hovers around .300). Young has also never played in front of a defense as good a fit for his game as the Kansas City Royals, so his improvement isn’t exactly surprising. Dave Cameron wrote an article for Fangraphs.com about Chris Young’s ability to maintain an usually low BABIP.
Sabermetric peripherals like Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), or adjusted Fielding INdependent Pitching (xFIP) always underestimate guys like Chris Young due to his low strikeout rate. Yet, if you add his strikeout rate (K%) of 17.0% with his IFFB% (infield fly ball rate) of 14.4%, you have a pitcher that gets 31.4% almost sure outs.
KC Royals fans have five solid reasons to believe Chris Young’s 2015 success is not a fluke. Dayton Moore had better be prepared to cut Chris Young a big bonus check at the end of the season.
He’s already been worth it.