|Acquired: Taken by the Nationals with the first pick in the 2008 Rule 5 Draft.|
|Bats: R Throws: R|
|Height: 6' 3" Weight: 175|
|Birth Date: August 7, 1985|
|2008 Team(s): Dayton (A), Sarasota (High-A)|
|Games/Games Started: 43/0|
|School: Grenada High School (Grenada, MS)|
Repertoire: Young has seemed to get his velocity and control back after a labrum injury sidelined him in 2006. By late in the 2008 season, Young had his fastball in the mid-90s, although some reports earlier in his career had him throwing consistently near 98 mph. His slider and change-up are both good pitches and both appear to be back to where they were before the injury. This past summer was the first time since his injury that Young was really back to his old form and was able to throw all of his pitches for strikes.
Pitching Style: The Nationals spent a good amount of time watching Young last season and were impressed with his improved maturity on the mound. Earlier in his career, there seemed to be a chip on Young's shoulder at times and he would sometimes lose his composure when things weren't going well for him. That issue has followed Young since before he was drafted and the Nationals franchise has been aware of it the whole time, since they scouted him in high school. "We've heard that he's had those concerns, but he's street-smart and he got better, which shows me that he can absorb instruction," said Nationals special assignment scout Bill Singer. "He has shown some aptitude. Our scouts who went into the home when he was in high school told us there were questions but that he's a good kid, and he's grown up some." Now that he's healthy and has matured mentally, Young has the ability to simply fire his pitches and know that he has enough command of his pitches to keep himself out of trouble. Young will continue to work on his control and will likely show improvement, which will help him, since he needs to have control to be effective.
"I saw him twice and knew he had an injury history. He had a labrum issue in 2006, and they treated it with rehab instead of surgery," said Singer. In 2007, he was better and threw, but he had command issues. In 2008, he let it go, and the walk trends were better."
Projection: For the first time since 2005, a team selected a player first overall in the Rule 5 Draft who hadn't yet reached at least Double-A. That shows how much confidence the Nationals have in Young's composure and they think he may be good enough to stick with the club all season and not have to be offered back to Cincinnati. Randy St. Claire is going to have some work to do with Young, but with his help and Manny Acta using Young in the right situations, there is a definite opportunity for Young to stick with the Nationals.
ETA: Ideally, Young would have a little more time to develop away from the spotlight of the majors. Instead, he's going to be pushed, starting in spring training, to show that he can make a huge jump and handle himself well enough to play a part in the Nationals bullpen.
*All stats accumulated while pitching in the Cincinnati Reds organization.