Cubs prospect Chesny Young finished the season Monday with the highest batting average among qualified players in the Southern League. Young hit .303 and appeared to win his second straight batting title. Young led the Carolina League in hitting last season.
Chesny Young led the Southern League in hitting with a .303 average but Rule 9.22 (a) allowed the league to add seven plate appearances to Albies’ season totals which made him eligible to win the batting crown.
Miranda Black explained the rule on MiLB.com: “In order to win a league batting title, players must have a minimum of 2.7 plate appearance per game, thus totaling 378 plate appearances. The Southern League Leaders lists Tennessee’s Chesney Young with an average of .303 under those qualifications. However, by Rule 9.22(a) (formerly Rule 10.22(a)), Albies actually wins the title with an adjusted batting average of .315. Albies had 371 plate appearances, so by adding seven more at-bats (0-for-7), his average would drop from .321 to .315 and still lead the Southern League.”
9.22 Minimum Standards for Individual Championships
To assure uniformity in establishing the batting, pitching and fielding championships of professional leagues, such champions shall meet the following minimum performance standards:
(a) The individual batting, slugging or on-base percentage champion shall be the player with the highest batting average, slugging percentage or on-base percentage, as the case may be, provided the player is credited with as many or more total appearances at the plate in league championship games as the number of games scheduled for each club in his club’s league that season, multiplied by 3.1 in the case of a Major League player and by 2.7 in the case of a National Association player. Total appearances at the plate shall include official times at bat, plus bases on balls, times hit by pitcher, sacrifice hits, sacrifice flies and times awarded first base because of interference or obstruction. Notwithstanding the foregoing requirement of minimum appearances at the plate, any player with fewer than the required number of plate appearances whose average would be the highest, if he were charged with the required number of plate appearances shall be awarded the batting, slugging or on-base percentage championship, as the case may be.
The Florida State League had the same problem this season and Mets’ prospect Tomas Nido was awarded the batting title.
Chesny Young finished second in the Southern League in batting average (.303) and on-base percentage (.376) to Braves’ prospect Ozzie Albies instead of leading the league in both categories. In 82 games, Albies batted .321/.391/.467 with 22 doubles, seven triples and four home runs for a .858 OPS.
Young had an excellent season that should not be overlooked. Unfortunately, Young does not have the prospect status of Ozzie Albies or several players in the Cubs’ system. Winning back-to-back batting titles at two different levels and leagues would have upped his stock and prospect status. The Southern League and Minor League Baseball should take a hard look at removing Rule 9.22(a) from its books.
Chesny Young hit .303/.376/.387 with 25 doubles, two triples and four home runs for a .763 OPS in 126 games, 491 at bats. Young has excelled in consecutive seasons in High- and Double-A baseball. Young needs to work on hitting with more power, an area he concentrated on last off-season. Young should see time at the Triple-A level next season. If he’s able to add the gap power the Cubs would like for him to do, maybe his numbers in the PCL will lead to a second batting title and more importantly a call to The Show.