Today on Jays Journal’s annual Top 30 prospect rankings. At the #22 spot on our list, we take a closer look at outfielder, Chavez Young.
Name: Chavez Young Position: Outfield
Height: 6’0 Weight: 195 lbs.
Throws: Right Bats: Switch
Acquired: Drafted by the Blue Jays 1,182nd overall, 39th round in 2016 MLB Draft
2019 Level: A+ ETA: 2021
Back in 2016, the Blue Jays, with their second last pick in the MLB Amateur Draft took a shot on a Bahamian outfielder named Chavez Young out of Faith Baptist Christian School in Brandon, Florida. Here we are four years later and Young is now one of the top 30 prospects within the Blue Jays system.
In an article on Fangraphs during last offseason, Young explained how someone with his talents fell to the 1,182nd pick in the draft. Young told David Laurila that his family did not have the resources to go to prospect showcases like Perfect Game or the All-American Games. His thoughts were ‘if a scout sees me, a scout sees me’. Fortunately for him, Mark Tidick, a Blue Jays scout, drove three hours to check him out back in 2014. Tidick acted on a tip from Young’s coach at the time.
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Young isn’t the typical 39th round pick and proof of that is that he received a $200,000 signing bonus. The reason he fell so far is that every team assumed he was going to go to junior college.
After being drafted in 2016, Young reported to the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays for the remainder of the year. He would go on to move up level after level, finding himself with the class A Lansing Lugnuts in 2018. He went on to put up a 129 wRC+ in that season while splitting time in the outfield between Right Field and Centre Field.
In 2019, Young was promoted to Advance A ball with the Dunedin Blue Jays. He struggled a bit at the plate but still managed to put up an above average 101 wRC+. He played the majority of his time in the outfield in centre.
MLB Pipeline projects Chavez Young with a 50 grade (on the 80-20 scout grade scale) hit tool. Fangraphs gives him a 30/50 grade hit tool (30 currently but projects to be a 50). In 2018, he had 33 doubles and nine triples which were both tied for second most in the Midwest League. He also had an on-base percentage of .363 (8th in the league). Fangraphs had him as a 129 wRC+.
In 2019, he was promoted to the Advanced A Dunedin Blue Jays and did not have the same success he had the previous year. His strikeout rate increased from 18.6% to 22.8%. His walk rate decreased from 10.8% to 7.8%. His on-base percentage fell to .315 and his wRC+ fell to 101. He was virtually league average in the Florida State League with his strike out rate, walk rate, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage (.354 SLG). None of those numbers deviating more than 0.004 from the league average. Although he was in a higher level, and it is clear he did not have the same success as the year before, but he was still younger than the league average and has room to grow and get ahead.
Young is a switch-hitter. He has shown more power from the right side, while providing more batting average from the left. Scouts have noted that he has a better approach from the left side as well.
Fangraphs has two grades for power, game power and raw power. They gave him a 40/45 game power tool and a 50/50 raw power tool. He is a solidly built athlete standing 6 feet tall and nearly 200 lbs, but has only gone yard 18 total times in his pro career. Over the last two seasons he has had a ground ball rate of 49% and 50% respectively. He will need to reduce these numbers and get more balls airborne if he wants to hit for more power. Fortunately for the Blue Jays, he was not drafted for his power tool.
Young will need to continue to work on improve on his strikeout to walk numbers and reduce the number of ground balls. If he doesn’t, a 50 grade hit tool and 45 to 50 power tool will be his ceiling. But I am optimistic he can improve this year and make the next step in his journey to being an MLB hitter.
Both MLB Pipeline and Fangraphs has Young at a 55 grade speed tool. As per the Fangraphs article mentioned before, Young excelled in both the 400 meter and 800 meter in his younger days. He put his track skills to work starting when he reached the Lansing Lugnuts in 2018. That year he stole 44 bases (3rd in the Midwest League) and had 4.7 BRR (Base Running Runs) per Baseball Prospectus. In 2019, he swiped another 24 bases. He is an above average runner and should be an asset on both the base paths and in the outfield in tracking down fly balls.
Young’s arm is most likely his best tool. He was given a 60 grade arm tool by Fangraphs and MLB Pipeline. He has had 28 assists in his last two seasons from the outfield in 229 games. That is one assist in about every eight games. To put that into context with Blue Jay fans, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. had some incredible success last season throwing people out from outfield, he had one assist in every seven games in the outfield (nine assists in 63 games). Jose Bautista, also known for his arm, threw out one in every 11 games. His arm could definitely play in both right field and centre field.
Young has been valued by MLB Pipeline as a 50 grade fielder. MLB Pipeline says that much of Young’s overall value is tied to the fact that he can stick in centre field. That being said, at every level he has been an above average fielder and I believe he can continue to be a solid outfielder. MLB Pipeline has even said he has “great instincts”.
Young has an estimated future value of 45 per MLB Pipeline, 50 being league average, which I find fairly conservative. He could surpass these expectations if his plate discipline improves, continues to amass some power and maintains his speed, arm, and fielding abilities.
Will Young be a super star in the big leagues? Most likely not. Can he become a league average player in MLB? Of course he can, and maybe even be a starting outfielder one day. But he most likely projects to be a 4th outfielder type. If he can be an MLB average player and put up several 1-2 WAR seasons, I would take that from him.
Fangraphs has Chavez Young’s estimated time of arrival with the Blue Jays as 2020 which would mean he would need to graduate from Advanced A and through AA and AAA all within this year. I believe that is highly unlikely. MLB Pipeline has his estimated time of arrival as 2021. I think this is more in line with where Young is.