The toughest part about Evan Longoria‘s planar fasciitis is that he was out of the Rays’ lineup for several games. But even though Kelly Johnson has done a fine job replacing Longoria defensively at third base, fans can’t help but miss the dazzling glove work that Longoria gives the team on a daily basis when he’s out there. Down at Short Season-A Hudson Valley, there’s nothing Ty Young can do about the Rays’ major league situation at third base. But Young, the 7th round selection by the Rays out of Louisville in this year’s draft, is doing his best Longoria impression for the Renegades with plays leaving everyone in attendance amazed.
In Sunday’s game, a Brooklyn Cyclones batter hit a bullet groundball to Young’s right and Young snagged it, set his feet, and delivered a strong throw across the diamond to finish the play. Then, later in the contest, Young did a tremendous job ranging far to his left on a groundball only to misfire as he threw on the run on a play that was ruled an infield single. Those two plays sum up Young’s defensive abilities pretty well: he shows great reflexes, good hands, and outstanding range for a third baseman, but his arm is only average. That combination of abilities means that he gets to an incredible amount of balls hit to both of his sides–but his throwing is far from a sure thing. Young is a natural second baseman who was moved to third base at Louisville out of necessity. Young profiles as a second baseman moving forward, but he is stuck at third because the Renegades have a glut of natural second baseman (Young, Ariel Soriano, Pat Blair, Johnny Field). If Young stays at third, though, he still has the ability to be an above-average defender with a little more work.
Young looked great on the first play we talked about when he set his feet and made a strong throw while his throw went wide as he released the ball on the run in the second play. Young has to do a better job setting his feet whenever possible and getting a feel for how much time he has to make plays. His quick lateral movements often give him more time than the average third baseman, and Young has to realize that there’s little point throwing the ball if he can’t plant his feet and get the ball across the diamond. There’s no issue with being a player who will make a few more errors but also get to a lot more groundballs, but a lot of Young’s errors are avoidable and hopefully he will cut down on them moving forward. In Ty Young, the Rays have found themselves another talented defensive third baseman. Hopefully with additional work, plenty more web gems will be in store for Young in the coming years.