This article was originally published over at SB Nation's fantasy baseball site.
Back in 2007, in his rookie season, Diamondbacks outfielder Chris Young surprised the fantasy community by hitting 32 HRs and stealing 27 bases. He did all this with a slash line of .237-.295-.467. Young was in demand in fantasy drafts in 2008 with the thoughts of a 30-30 season from him. But he disappointed fantasy owners by going 22-85-85-14-.248-.315-.443 while striking out in 26% of his at bats.
Fantasy owners figured his 2008 season was just a bad year for him and that Young would be a bounce back candidate in 2009. Not a chance. Young regressed even more to the point that he was optioned to AAA to figure things out without the pressure of facing major league pitching.
Young's 2009 stats were abysmal. He hit 15 HRs, drove in 42 runs while stealing 11 bases in 15 attempts. But he was a BA killer, hitting .212 for the season with an OBP of .311 and a SLG of .400. He increased his K% to 30.7% of his at bats, but also increased his BB% to almost 12%.
Ron Shandler projects Young to go 20-59-14-.237-.316-.445 in 2010. Young hit .278 with 8 HRs and 14 RBI in September 2009, so I am curious if his demotion to AAA in August was a turning point in his career. Fantasy owners should pay attention to how he performs in spring training before drafting him in mixed leagues, But should he bust out of the gate with a solid few weeks in spring training, he could be a late round sleeper.
In auction leagues, I can see Young going for less than $10 in 2010. That might prove to be a real bargain if he has turned the corner. If not, he could end up being platooned more and more in 2010.