In 2011, Chris Young was on his way towards having one of his best seasons this year. However, his production fell off a cliff in July, and he admitted that he had been playing through a sprained thumb ligament. Before July, Young hit .255 with 15 home runs. Afterwards he hit an awful .176 with only five home runs. His counting stats took a hit as well and he was eventually moved further down into the order after weeks of futility.
Despite the promising start, he finished 109th in ESPN’s player rater. His batting coach later said that he believed the thumb injury did in fact affect him at the plate. We should give much more weight to the part of the season when he was healthy than to the part of the year when he was dealing with an injury that won’t affect him next year. (He did appear to already be over his struggles at the plate in the postseason as he hit .388 and had three home runs in a small sample size of five games.)
Next season, Chris Young will likely hit 4th or 5th in one of the NL’s most potent lineups and is a solid bet for 25-plus HRs and 20-plus SBs. The low average hurts, but he is just a guy that you have to take the good with the bad and hope he doesn’t get a sprained thumb ligament again (or any injury that would affect his offensive stats). I think a fair projection is .248 average with 27 HR and 23 SB.
Due to the terrible ending to the season he can probably be had a decent value next season. In ESPN’s early rankings for 2012, Chris Young is ranked 135, which is a joke of a ranking. He will be in my top 100 without a doubt.