Chesny Young Takes Big Stride

CHICAGO—Infielder Chesny Young, who came within an adjusted batting average of a second consecutive league batting title in 2016, took yet another big developmental stride in the Dominican League.

And it wasn’t his .350 hitting with a .400-plus OBP that was most impressive to Cubs officials.

“Most important he’s really come along defensively down there in the Dominican playing third base,” said farm director Jaron Madison. “We’re getting really good reviews about his play at third, which is really good for him because it opens up more opportunities around the infield. As you know, we like to move guys around.”

Just ask Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist and Javy Baez on the big league club.

Young, 24, was a second baseman from Mercer when he was drafted in the 14th round in 2014 and made only six starts at third until this year, when the Cubs started moving him around the field more aggressively. He was named the top utility player in the Southern League then sent to winter ball to focus on third base.

Young finished first among qualifying hitters in the Southern League last season with a .303 average, but Braves prospect Ozzie Albies was awarded the batting crown at .315 after adjusting for added plate appearances to qualify. Young won the high-A Carolina League batting title in 2015.

He doesn’t have much power, but he has been an exceptional contact hitter with discipline and could be in line for a debut with the World Series champs this year—especially with the improved versatility.

“He’s always hit,” Madison said. “His defense has come around, and his ability to play all over the field makes him valuable for us. It’s definitely going to be a key season for him.”


Outfielder Eloy Jimenez, 20, likely will open the season at high Class A Myrtle Beach and might yet prove the Cubs were better off keeping him after discussing both him and shortstop Gleyber Torres (traded to the Yankees) at the trade deadline.

Look for the Cubs to honor Stan Zielinski, their longtime scout, who died suddenly at his home this month at age 64. Players he scouted and signed included Kyle Schwarber, Jeff Samardzija and Cliff Floyd (with the Expos).

— Gordon Wittenmyer covers the Cubs for the Chicago Sun-Times

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