ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs’ Alex Young preparing as starter but ready for bullpen role

Feb 26, 2021, 9:01 AM
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)...
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)
(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Alex Young had his first spring training with the club cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now heading into his second, the left-hander is looking forward to his first full spring with the D-backs.

A question surrounding Arizona heading into the 2021 season is who exactly will be at the back end of the rotation?

In two years with the Diamondbacks, Young has been used both as a starter and reliever.

“There’s a lot of competition with the pitching side, so I think that really plays a big role,” he told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Thursday.

“I think every guy is competing to basically earn a spot. That’s my mindset right now — just to compete and earn a spot wherever it is. So I think that’s going to be the biggest thing in the spring, going into the season is just competition.”

After getting called up from Triple-A Reno in June 2019, he went on to make 17 appearances for Arizona, 15 of which were starts. In 83.1 innings pitched for the D-backs that season, Young posted a 3.56 ERA to go along with 71 strikeouts (7.7 strikeouts per nine innings) and a 1.18 WHIP.

Now compare that to last season in which Young took the bump 15 times, but only seven of those were starts. However, all seven of his starts came in his last eight appearances of 2020. Young managed a 5.44 ERA, 1.40 WHIP and 39 punchouts over 46.1 innings of work, but did maintain his strikeouts per nine innings pitched ratio at 7.6.

“Right now it’s just building up, getting innings,” Young said. “Obviously it’s easier to build up to be a starter and then work your way down to be a reliever. So that’s kind of the plan right now and just kind of see how it plays out. But whatever role I get put in I’ll be happy with.”

This offseason saw the NL West division rival Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres make huge splashes in acquiring the likes of pitchers Trevor Bauer (Dodgers), Blake Snell (Padres) and Yu Darvish (Padres). Not to mention that the Dodgers are also the defending World Series champions.

D-backs manager Torey Lovullo reiterated Wednesday that the team is not in a rebuilding mode. And while assistant GM Amiel Sawdaye acknowledged that Arizona won’t “unseat the Dodgers or Padres on Day 1,” Young believes the 2021 Diamondbacks can compete with anyone.

“Last year, I think that we didn’t play our best baseball,” Young said. “I still think we’re just as good as anyone. The nine guys we put on the field, we’re going to compete regardless. … I’ll put our guys up against anyone.”

Penguin Air

Arizona Diamondbacks

Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Chris Devenski works against the Colorado Rockies in the sixth ...
Associated Press

Arizona Diamondbacks drop series opener in Colorado to Rockies

The Arizona Diamondbacks only managed five hits in a loss on the road against the Colorado Rockies.
1 day ago
Arizona Diamondbacks' Sergio Alcantara (43) and Geraldo Perdomo, middle, celebrate after scoring ag...
Kellan Olson

Diamondbacks rally to beat Pirates, make up for odd defensive blunder

The Arizona Diamondbacks' seven runs in the seventh inning picked up starter Merrill Kelly after he was positioned for an undeserved loss.
2 days ago
Chicago White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn warms up in the outfield before a baseball game against the Ne...
Associated Press

‘Field of Dreams’ game Thursday sees Cubs, Reds clash

“Field of Dreams” gets another tribute when the Cincinnati Reds take on the Chicago Cubs in a throwback ballpark in the cornfields of Iowa.
3 days ago
Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Daulton Varsho leaps in vain for a triple hit by Pittsburgh Pira...
Kellan Olson

Bizarre double play, replay review costs Diamondbacks in loss to Pirates

The D-backs loaded the bases with nobody out down 6-3 in the ninth inning against the Pirates before one of the strangest plays of the year.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles safety Marc...
Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald, Pedro Gomez in 2022 Arizona Sports Hall of Fame class

Arizona Cardinals legend Larry Fitzgerald and late journalist Pedro Gomez are among the 2022 class entering the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
3 days ago
Tommy Henry #47 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a first inning pitch against the Pittsburgh Pi...
Kellan Olson

D-backs starting pitching stays hot, Henry’s first W takes down Pirates

Diamondbacks rookie Tommy Henry continued the strong run of form from the team's starting pitching lately in a win over the Pirates.
4 days ago
D-backs’ Alex Young preparing as starter but ready for bullpen role