Andy Dirks was recently placed on the DL and Matt Young was purchased from Toledo. He’s very similar to Quintin Berry in that he has little power and lots of speed. He was batting .259/.431/.354 with 1 HR and 12 SB for Toledo. He had a little bit of ML experience last year with the Braves and hit .208/.269/.229 in 52 PA.
Young’s best asset is that he can walk. He was leading the International League in BB% at 23.0%. This obviously gives him a great OBP of .428, 2nd in the International League despite a meh average of .259. His slugging is lower than his OBP, which is a pretty rare feat. This is a combination of his poor power as well as his great skill at getting on base.
Matt Young has always had this ability of getting on base with little power. His career minor league stat line is .285/.390/.380. The lowest his OBP has been was .361 in 2007 and has constantly been at .380 and above. He’s always had poor power, hitting single digit HR each year. The speed comes and goes; in 2005 he only stole 10 bases but in 2009 he stole 43.
As far as balls in play, he has a very normal .325 BABIP, a 26.5% LD and a 47% GB. It doesn’t look like bunting is a big part of his game, only bunting 2.6% of the time and only 1.0% last year. However, he is getting a lot of ground balls which is a plus with his speed and his LD% is high which shows he’s making solid contact.
Matt Young bats left-handed and so he struggles against lefties, .200/.375/.400 in Toledo. He was hitting .273/.444/.347 against righties. However, he was able to hit .296/.378/.347 against lefties in AAA last year and .265/.370/.347 against righties. Unfortunately I can’t go back further than last year to see if this is a true talent or an anomaly. I’m going to assume an anomaly as lefties usually don’t hit lefties that well (Brennan Boesch notwithstanding).
Young has played a little second base, but my guess is that we’ll see him in the OF. He’s played all three OF spots, but mostly LF and CF. I don’t really know how good he is defensively, but my guess is that his speed makes him at least average to above average. He does have a .996 FLD% in CF and .991 FLD% in LF, but fielding percentage isn't always the best metric for defense.
I’m not predicting a Quintin Berry-like tear from Young. Hopefully when he does play, he can use his good on-base skills to give RBI opportunities to our sluggers. He might just be used as a pinch-runner as the Tigers aren’t exactly known for their speed aside from Berry and Jackson. As soon as Jackson is healthy, I envision Young to be DFA. Although they do have 3 catchers and with all the injuries, who knows what will happen?