Well, that was fast.
One start into the season, Chris Young has tightness in his troublesome right shoulder, and will miss his next start.
The big righty’s velocity was noticeably down in his outing, even by his own modest standards. His slider lacked crispness or velocity, and he often fell back on his eephus-ish curveball, which was hit around.
Young made it through six scoreless innings, so that’s good, but an .077 BABIP isn’t going to hold up for long.
His slider has now lost five mph since 2006, and at less than 75 mph, it’s slower than most curves. A pitch with cutter-esque movement and curveball-esque speed just isn’t going to fool major league hitters for long.
For now, it’s just a one-start issue, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the shoulder keeps Young out of more action, given that it shelved him for most of last season. Wade LeBlanc would be the obvious choice to replace him long-term, and if Young can’t find his velocity and movement, the Padres are probably better off with LeBlanc, who also lacks velocity but has a plus changeup.
Speaking of changeups, Young didn’t throw any in his first start. The changeup has been a strong pitch for him throughout his career, so if he’s going to lose velocity, he’s certainly going to need to dust off the changeup to give hitters a different look going forward. You can’t be a two-pitch starter when the two pitches are a low-to-mid-80’s heater and low-to-mid-70’s cutter/slider hybrid.
I’m very worried about Young. Let’s hope this is just a bump in the road.