The Cincinnati Reds bolstered bullpen depth on Tuesday as they signed former SF Giants left-handed reliever Alex Young to a minor league deal. This includes a camp invite, per the team's transaction page.
Cincinnati adds former SF Giants lefty reliever on a minors pact
Young (great name) was selected in the second round of the 2015 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. He debuted with the Diamondbacks in 2019 and put together a nice rookie season.
Across 83.1 frames, Young tallied a 3.56 ERA, 4.81 FIP, 1.18 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, and a 2.63 SO/W ratio while working primarily out of the rotation in 2019. The southpaw was unable to sustain that performance over the next couple of seasons and he was sent to the Cleveland Guardians via a waiver claim. He began the season with the Guardians but joined San Francisco as a mid-season waiver claim.
This proved to be a nice landing spot for Young as the Giants bullpen struggled to find stability. As soon as he joined the Giants organization, he demonstrated a noticeable change in pitch mix that better utilized his changeup and curveball.
The results soon followed as Young was fantastic in a Giants uniform, registering a 2.39 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 1.48 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, and a 1.82 SO/W ratio across 26.1 innings. He did not yield a home run with San Francisco.
The Giants held team control over Young this winter as he qualified as a Super 2 player, meaning that he was eligible for arbitration one season earlier than normal. However, the Giants decided to cut ties with the lefty rather than pay him a modest raise through arbitration.
Despite his solid surface-level stats in 2022, this could be a case of a shiny ERA that comes with less-than-stellar peripherals. For example, Young's 1.48 WHIP suggests that he pitched often with traffic on the bases. He relied on contact to record outs given that his 6.8 K/9 was well below the league average of 8.5 K/9.
The Giants already had a couple of contact-heavy relievers in Tyler Rogers and Scott Alexander, so they probably did not have room for another.
On top of this, Young's pitches did not necessarily grade highly in terms of velocity, spin, or movement. San Francisco likely did not see his performance as sustainable.
However, he is set to join a Reds team that went 62-100 in 2022. Though, he was added on a minor league deal, the 29-year-old has a good shot at making a team that needs a lot of help.