I have come to the conclusion that Chris Young is who he is.
I no longer have the expectations of CY hitting .300 with 30 homers and 100 runs batted in. He is going to hit somewhere between .225 and .250. He is going to hit 20-plus home runs and drive in 75 to 85 runs.
And he is going to play magnificent defense in centerfield. For years I have been of the belief that Young couldn’t stay in this lineup hitting .223, his current average. But I was wrong.
Chris Young is a key part of the Diamondbacks success. As baseball has changed to become more about pitching and defense and less about offense, Young’s importance to this team as a dominant defensive centerfielder increases.
His career batting average is .239. He hit .212 in 2009 and .257 last year. But none of that matters. The Diamondbacks get just enough offensive power from CY to make him a threat.
And he does on occasion go on hot streaks and when he is on base he is a threat to steal and to go from first to third on a single because of his speed.
What matters though more than his home runs, stolen bases or lack of a batting average, is his defense.
Never was that more evident than with two outs in the 8th inning at Colorado Wednesday night. With Arizona protecting a 2-1 lead, Young reached over the centerfield wall to rob Ty Wiggington of a home run and the D-backs went on to win the game.
It was a sensational play but one in which broadcaster Mark Grace said “was a routine play” for Young. He is just so good defensively that we expect him to make all the plays.
So good that when he makes a game-saving catch like that we don’t give it much thought. It’s just CY being CY.
Who can forget him robbing Mike Cameron of a grand slam in San Diego in 2007. The Diamondbacks have a lineage of great defensive centerfielders, it started with Devon White then became Steve Finley and now Young. Players who covered a lot of ground in spacious Chase Field and who made the difficult plays look routine.
But saying CY is just a great defensive centerfielder is selling him short. He is a leader, he is respected. He works hard and he cares.
So what that he doesn’t hit for average. I can live with that as long as he is playing the type of defense that saves runs. Arizona will find offense in other areas.
Right now the best baseball teams are going to be strong up the middle. And not many teams are stronger in centerfield than Arizona.