May 24, 2016

2013 National League Stolen Base Leader: Eric Young Jr. (2013-2015)

Eric Orlando Young was born on May 25th 1985 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. 

Young is the son of former MLB player Eric Young Sr. who was just 18 at the time of his sons birth. Young & his girlfriend never married, but he kept close contact with his son spending summers with him & teaching him baseball.

Eric  Young Jr. attended Piscataway High School in Jersey & then moved on to Community College in Arizona. The speedy five foot ten switch hitter was signed by the Colorado Rockies in the 30th round of the 2003 amateur draft.  
In 2006 he swiped 87 bases at A ball Asheville, the most of all minor leaguers, while batting .295. He was also caught stealing more than any other player as well. 

He followed up batting .291 with 73 steals in 2007 at A ball Modesto. He led the California League in triples, sacrifice hits (12), steals, times caught stealing and errors at second base (25). He made the All-Star team at second, as Baseball America rated him the #14 prospect in the California League.

Young remained consistent when promoted to AA Tulsa in 2008, batting .290 with 46 stolen bases.

In 2009 he made it to the big leagues, debuting with the Rockies on August 25th. He got a hit in that game a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the time the Rockies were just two games behind the Dodgers in the NL West. Although he did show his speed, stealing four of four bases, he didn't show much power. On September 8th he hit his only HR of the year off the Reds Pedro Viola in a 3-1 Rockies victory.

In 2010 he began the year at Colorado, but was sent back down from mid May until mid August. That year he stole 17 bases getting caught six times, while batting .244 in 51 games. In 2011 he played in 77 games batting .247 while leading the Rockies, stealing 27 bases & posting a 87% stolen base percentage (5th best in the league).

In 2012 he had his best season playing in a career high 98 games, with 55 hits in 174 at bats, for a .316 batting average. On August 8th, he led off a game against the Dodgers by hitting an inside-the-park homer against Chad Billingsley. On the year he hit four HRs with two triples 15 RBIs & a .316 on base %.

In 2013 he batted .242 with 9 doubles & three triples in 57 games at Colorado, but with Michael Cuddyer, Dexter Fowler & Carlos Gonzalez all doing better, there was no room for Young. On June 12th he was designated for assignment & a week later got traded to the New York Mets for Collin McHugh. His roster spot was opened up as Collin Cowgill, who began the year as the Mets main centerfielder was sent back down for a second time.

Young debuted with the Mets on June 19th, batting leadoff & playing centerfield during a 5-3 loss to Atlanta. He got one hit that day, & went hitless in the Mets 4-3 win the next day. As the Mets went to Philadelphia, Young impressed with a big series.

On Friday June 21st, he doubled in the 4th inning scoring on David Wright's base hit. In the 5th he singled to centerfield off Cole Hamels bringing in two Mets runs & tying up the game. The Mets went on to a 4-3 win. In a heartbreaking 8-7 walk off loss on Saturday, after the Mets had come back from being down 7-1, Young had two more hits with two more RBIs.

On Sunday June 23rd, as Matt Harvey won his seventh game beating the Philadelphia Phillies, Young led off the game with a base hit & scored on Marlon Byrd's sac fly. In his next at bat he hit a single, then in the 5th he doubled to left field scoring Harvey after his RBI double, putting the Mets up 4-0. He would cross the plate on David Wright's double making it 5-0 as the Mets went on to a 8-0 victory.

Young is an exciting player to watch. He is a great addition to a team with no speed & no true lead off hitter, since Jose Reyes left town. Young not only specializes in base stealing but bunt base hits as well. 

Young hit safely in 19 of his first 25 Mets games. In July the speedster stole bases in five straight games, with 13 overall in the month. 

On August 2nd, Young won the game with a walk off HR in the bottom of the 11th inning off the Royals Luis Mendoza. It was only his second HR of the year. 

In the last two weeks of August he had three games where stole two bases & swiped ten in that span. He also had four games where he scored two runs or more. In September he stole 13 more bases which gave him enough to lead the NL on the year.

If Young can improve his hitting as well as his on base %, he is a threat to steal a lot of bases & score many runs. Terry Collins said he has the potential to score 120 runs.

In 2013 he hit .251 with New York & stole 38 bases in 91 games, batting a total .249 on the year, with a league leading 46 bases. On the year he had 134 hits with 27 doubles 7 triples (7th in the NL), two HRs, 32 RBIs, 10 sac hits (8th in the NL) & 70 runs scored.  

In the outfield he was very good as well, making seven assists (4th in the NL) posting a .989 fielding %.

In the off season the Mets signed Curtis Granderson & Chris Young. Along with Juan Lagures it made for a crowded outfield. 

Young was the Mets regular left fielder & lead off man to start out the 2014 season. He didn't get his first hit until his fourth game but when he did start getting on base he stole bases. 

On April 10th, he had three hist in Atlanta, with a triple, three stolen bases & four runs scored in the 6-4 Met . This came during a stretch where Young scored runs in 10 of 12 games. By the end of April he was already leading the league in stolen bases. Unfortunately he struck out in every game through April 21st (18). 

After Juan Lagares & Chris Young came off the DL, Eric Young saw a bit less playing time, mostly due to the fact he was batting just .218 though May 11th. But Chris Young fell into a slump & the way Eric Young made things happen when he did get on base, couldn't be ignored. He came back with back to back three hit games & hit his first HR in the Mets 9-7 subway series win over the A.L. club. In that game he had three hits, a HR, drove in two runs, scored two runs & stole a base.

On June 18th in St. Louis, Young doubled with Bartolo Colon on second base after his own double. Colon ran the bases & scored much to the comic delight of his team mates & the fans alike. Young drove in two runs helping Colon win the game 3-2 over the Cards.

On June 28th he stole three bases in a 5-3 over the Pirates in Pittsburgh. On July 13th he stole two more bases in a -1 win over the Miami Marlins. In the next two months he saw ample playing time, stole just four bases & did not hit much. 
Eric Young Sr. & Jr.
Young Jr. ended the year stealing 30 bases (6th in the NL) batting .229 with 48 runs scored, ten doubles, five triples, one HR & 17 RBIs. His six assists as a left fielder were second best in that position. In the off season he signed on with the Atlanta Braves.

After spending 35 games with the Braves he returned to the Mets in September for the pennant run. Young added some speed to the Mets lineup as well as some out field depth & pinch hitting. He would get just one start in September, get hit by a pitch & score a run.

On September 14th he came in to pinch run for Wilmer Flores in the 7th inning of a 3-3 tie with the Miami Marlins. Young stole second base & scored the games inning run on David Wrights base hit. Young is a good ballplayer who can make a difference on the base paths.

In 18 games he went 0-8 with 2015 Mets. He did not make the post season roster.

In 2016 he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. In his career he has played in 557 games batted .247 with 144 stolen bases, 8 HRs 58 doubles 20 triples 237 runs scored & 88 RBIs with a .314 on base %.

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