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ONE STEP CLOSER: Alex Young

ONE STEP CLOSER:  Alex Young

Arizona Diamondbacks / Hillsboro Hops (Class A-Short)

Alex YoungMequon, WI – The number of innings a pitcher throws for his college team and the philosophy of his college coaches can translate into short stints during the summer playing in collegiate leagues like the Northwoods League.  Fans may get just a short glimpse of a pitcher before he’s shut down for the summer. Such was the case for TCU pitcher Alex Young, who made four appearances for the Lakeshore Chinooks in 2013. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound left-handed pitcher was picked by the Texas rangers in the 32nd round of the 2012 MLB Draft, but he elected to attend TCU instead and was assigned to the Chinooks, where he struck out 21 hitters in 19.1 innings and posted a 2.34 ERA

Young's decision to play college baseball at TCU, where his innings were managed as he pitched mostly out of the bullpen, appeared to have paid off.  The Carmel High School graduate and Hawthorn Woods, IL native, was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 43rd overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. His selection in the second round, was second only to Mike Papi (38th overall pick in 2014) for former Lakeshore Chinook players who have been drafted thus far. With an 89-92 mph fastball and an above average changeup, Young has the potential to move quickly through the minor leagues. The Diamondbacks hope that his live arm and variety of pitches will allow Young to develop as a starter.

The Diamondbacks eased their second round pick in during 2015.  He started his professional journey with the club’s rookie level team in Arizona where he received focused instruction in limited game action before being assigned late in the summer to the Hillsboro Hops of the Northwest League.  When he arrived, he was thrust into the team’s playoff run.  Young made six appearances, striking out five in six innings of work. With a full offseason to prepare, Young, who was ranked by MLB.com as Arizona’s fifth best prospect heading into the summer, expects 2016 to be the most important step in his career and had these comments about his experience:

Photo Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer and the Hillsboro Hops.

Photo Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer and the Hillsboro Hops

1.  The next step for me is to have a good spring training and to stay healthy. I have to keep working out, doing my daily exercises and stretches, and eating healthy (most the time).

2.  The best minor league moment for me was when we won our league championship and had a champagne shower celebration. It was awesome and a great ending after not winning in Omaha with TCU, so this eased the pain a lot.

3.  Probably the best minor league prank I witnessed was when one of our guys missed the national anthem and our manager gave him a letter saying he was fined. The letter had a fake name for the club official, so he went around the whole stadium to every office looking for this person when they didn't exist.  He didn't find out until the next day that it was just a joke.

4. I'd have to say the most difficult part of the minors is that everything is on your own. It's almost like your own plan and you can push yourself as hard or little as you want.  While in college you have all the guys who want the same result and you work as a team to get there with everything planned out for you.  It's definitely a challenge, but going to TCU helped me out so much and prepared me for what was ahead.  I haven't really experienced the full effect of pro ball, so this year will be a good learning experience.

Young’s progress and statistics can be tracked at: 

http://www.milb.com/player/index.jsp?sid=milb&player_id=622065#/career/R/pitching/2015/ALL

The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. The 22-year old summer collegiate league is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 18 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, more than 140 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer (WAS) and MLB All-Stars Chris Sale (CWS), Jordan Zimmermann (DET), Curtis Granderson (NYM), Lucas Duda (NYM) and Ben Zobrist (KC). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. For more information, visit www.northwoodsleague.com.