Updated: Feb 1, 2018
In conjunction with my friend Colin Garner over at The Redbird Daily, we present to you our combined list of the Top 30 Prospects in the Cardinals organization! Every other day for the next two months, From January 28th until March 29th, we will be presenting you with an exhaustive evaluation on each of the top 30 prospects in the organization starting with prospect #30 and counting down to prospect #1. This is our combined list, not our own individual lists. For additional information on how we came these rankings, CLICK HERE. Without further delay, we present...
Prospect #29, 2B/SS/3B Andy Young
Age At The Start Of The 2018 Season: 23
Drafted In the 34th Round Of The 2016 Draft
wRC+ in Peoria- 158. wRC+ in Palm Beach- 110.
Kyle Reis (Prospect #31 On Personal List, Prior To Combining Lists With Colin Garner)
What I like about Andy Young is, simply put, his power. Even with the addition of Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock, the Cardinals lack infield power in the system. Young's 17 HR between Palm Beach and Peoria represent a unique quality that few others in the organization have.
While many of the prospects at the upper levels were raking to start the 2017 season - prospects such as Paul DeJong, Luke Voit, Oscar Mercado, and Carson Kelly - there wasn't much hitting going on at Peoria, the lowest level of the full season clubs. The Peoria lineup had only a few bright spots and they were mostly Andy Young at the onset of the season. As a matter of fact, aside from the hitters I just mentioned (and one that we’ll be mentioning in the top 10), Young was probably the most dominant and impressive position player to start the 2017 season.
His OPS of .924 in the Midwest League was among the league leaders before he was promoted to Palm Beach. On Friday‘s during the 2017 season over at The Redbird Daily I was doing a weekly minor league rundown and Young seemed to take the award for hitter of the week in Peoria more often than not. He wasn't just good, he was incredible.
While he isn't the biggest player in the organization, I can't think of too many players in the mid-levels of the organization that square the ball up or hit the ball as hard as Young does. Minor league Statcast data isn't available to the common folk, but all that you have to do is watch him to see that he has some serious exit velocity. Every thing jumps off of his bat, as you'll see here:
That pitch gets in on him quick and he has enough muscle and bat speed to drive it over the wall. That's the kind of power that almost always has staying power.
Now, you might look at that stat line for Palm Beach and think "Yikes. That guy kinda sucked after that promotion." You'd be right, but only partially. You see, Young is more of a flyball hitter with line drive capabilities and that type of hitter usually doesn't do well in the Florida State League. The winds swirl and the ballparks are caverns. So, with that in mind, a .715 OPS is probably something closer to a .760-.780 OPS in any other league for that type of hitter..
But that's not to call his entire turn in the Florida State League a failure. He was actually pretty darn good once he got more acclimated to the league. He hit 298/368/404/772 from June 1st until the end of the season. That's the kind of strong finish within a pitchers league that you hope for.
In the field, I've been impressed with what I've seen from Young at both second and third. His arm is strong enough to stay at 3rd and he's agile enough to stick at 2nd. He's average at both positions, creating another potential for versatility that'll suit him well as he progresses through the system.
What I don't like about Young is the exact same thing that I don't like about our number 30 prospect Stefan Trosclair; he's too old and too seasoned for the talent he's playing against. The disparity in talent bastardizes his dominance at Peoria in particular. Yes, his stats came back to earth in Palm Beach, but you have to wonder how much the talent and age level at the A-Level accounts for the success that he had at the end of the season. My guess is that he never sees anything similar to the slash line that he put up from June 1st until the end of the 2017 again. I say that, but I do think the .772 OPS is sustainable for him, I'm just not sure in what walk to slug capacity.
The other thing that I don't like about Young - and save this because I'm going to look like an ass for saying this in a year - is that he's not a short stop. He's serviceable there in the lower/mid levels of the minors, but he won't be by the time he makes it to Memphis. I'd prefer that he stays dedicated to 2nd or 3rd and hones his craft at those positions.
The below average 22.1% strikeout rate during 2017 coupled with a below average walk rate of 7% is also a concern. It's even more concerning because he wasn't a high K% guy in college while attending Indiana State. In his senior season he actually took more walks then he struck out. He's entering his third season in the organization with nearly identical walk and strikeout rates, so there's reason to believe that he'll never be anything more than a 22% K rate, 7% walk rate hitter. Those types of hitters usually don't survive very long unless they're hitting for mammoth power.
If I'm comparing Young to any player it's former Cardinals prospect Jacob Wilson. The similarities are eerie, actually. I am higher on Young that I ever was on Wilson, for the record. His ultimate ceiling is something similar to whatever the light version of 3B/Utility IF Jedd Gyorko is. Sooooo, maybe something similar to Scooter Gennett as a TRUE ultimate peak.
As always, these articles can't be done without Fangraphs and Baseball Reference. These Top 30 scouting reports are equally as reliant on the skills of Cardinalsgif's and NChill17. It's a pleasure to do this list with my friend Colin Garner at The Redbird Daily.
Thanks For Reading!
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