Unsung Hero: Chris Young
By Peter Santo
While all eyes were focused on Fenway Park on Wednesday for the signing of David Price for $217 million, it was a smaller scale signing that caught my attention.
The Red Sox signed outfielder Chris Young to a two-year deal worth $13 million. Young was a bargain for the Yankees last season, hitting .252 with 14 Home Runs while making a modest $2.5 million.
Young will likely fill the fourth outfielder position behind Rusney Castillo, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts. He will provide adequate defense at all three outfield positions as well as some power off the bench.
If we compare Young to similar outfielders the Red Sox have had in the past, his numbers stack up nicely. In 2013, Jonny Gomes hit .247 with 13 home runs, almost identical to Young’s 2015 production. Their contracts are also very similar, with Gomes signing a two-year, $10 million deal in 2012.
Young is being brought in mostly as a guy who can provide some pop off the bench, he is not known for his defense. There is no doubt that the Red Sox projected starting outfield of Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, and Rusney Castillo will be one of the game’s best defensively, questions remain as to their offensive firepower.
This is where Young comes in handy, his 1.5 Offensive Wins Above Replacement in 2o15 was two points better than that of Castillo’s. That translates to just about two more wins for the Red Sox.
Jonny Gomes was certainly a difference maker, providing numerous clutch hits during the championship season of 2013, look for Chris Young to try and provide a similar spark in 2016.