2010 Player Preview: Matt Young
Final projection: starter in Gwinnett, possible callup to the majors for a little bit if there's an injury.
Return to relevance...phew.
Matt Young is not a prospect. He's a 27 year old who will be getting his first full shot at AAA this season. Young wasn't much of a player in 2006 and 2007, spending time at Myrtle Beach and Mississippi in both years, and posting a high OPS of .764 in his 4 stints combined between the two clubs. Something clicked with Young in 2008, and he had a breakout year returning from injury: .289/.384/.385 with 30 stolen bases. If he were maybe a 22 year old, this would be a pure revelation. But as a then 25 year old, it was swept under the table.
Then 2009 happened, and people started passionately defending Young. He straight up busted the career minor league journeyman stigma that had been placed on him years ago, and posted a .289/.421/.407 line while improving his stolen base total to 42. That my friends, results in a beautiful .390 WOBA. What I liked most about Young's 2009 year was the way he controlled the plate: he walked 94 times while only striking out 58. Even if you're a 26 year old as Young was in 2009, its still very impressive.
With the praise out of the way, lets get something out of the way: Matt Young is not going to be the next big thing in the Braves organization. He's not a top prospect, he's not a superstar in the making. But what Young CAN be is an effective guy off the bench for the Braves. Think an older Gregor Blanco with better speed and a tad more power. Young is going to be a major league player, and he most definitely deserves it. The question is, when will he get his taste of the bigs? He'll start 2010 in Gwinnett, and will likely be one of the first outfielders to be called up to Atlanta in the event of an injury. I see no reason for Blanco to get the call above him, but Mitch Jones could have a leg up on him depending on in season performance.