Eric Young Jr: Former Mets N.L. Stolen Base Leader (2013 - 2015)

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

Family: Young is the son of former MLB player Eric Young Sr. who was just 18 at the time of his son's 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 New 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.

Major League Career: 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.


Mets Career: Young debuted with the Mets on June 19th, 2013, 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.


Multi RBI Games: 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. 

On Saturday, after coming back from being down 7-1, the Mets took a heartbreaking 8-7 walk off loss when Kevin Frandsen hit a walk off HR off Carlos Torres. In the game Young collected two more hits including a two-run double.

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 was an exciting player to watch. He was a great addition to a team with no speed, lacking a true leadoff hitter, since Jose Reyes had left town. Young not only specialized in base stealing but in bunt base hits as well. He would hit safely in 19 of his first 25 Mets games. 

From July 4th thru July 8th, the speedster stole bases in five straight games. On shy of the Mets franchise record. He would steal 13 bases in the month.



Walk Off HR:
On August 2nd, Young came to bat in the bottom of the 11th inning of a tied game with the KC Royals. He hit an exciting walk off HR off Luis Mendoza. It was only his second HR of the year. In the three-game set he collected five hits with three stolen bases.


From August 16th to September 1st, Young Jr. stole 11 bases, having three games where he had stolen two bases. 
He also batted .316 with three doubles & 12 runs scored in that stretch.

Multi-Hit & Multi RBI Game: On August 29th he had his tenth game of the season where he collected three hits. Young Jr. also matched a career high (up to that point) three RBIs in a game. Young Jr. would have 40 multi hit games on the season, 29 with New York.

Game Winning Hits: On September 8th, with the score tied 1-1 in the top of the 9th at Cleveland, Eric doubled off Chris Perez, driving in Matt den Dekker with what was to be the game winning run. 

On September 25th his RBI single off the Reds Mat Latos was the only run in a Daisuke Matsuzaka (7.2 innings) Pedro Feliciano, Latroy Hawkins combined four hit shutout.

Third Father & Son Pair to Each Steal 40 Bases: On September 30th, Young Jr. stole third base in the 1st inning of a 6-4 win at Philadelphia. His swipe off pitcher Cole Hamels was his 40th of the season. With that stolen base he & his father Eric Young, became the third father / son MLB pair to each have 40 or more stolen bases in a single season. Maury & Bump Wills as well as Bobby & Barry Bonds were the others.

In the month of September, he also stole 13 more bases to top the NL.

NL Stolen Base Leader: Eric Young Jr. finished the season with 46 steals becoming the second Met in franchise history to lead the NL in stolen bases. Jose Reyes had won the title in both 2005 & 2007. In 91 games with the Mets, Young Jr. stole 38 bases.

For the Mets he hit .251 with 94 hits 18 doubles 4 triples a HR 26 RBIs & 48 runs scored.

Overall, on the year for both teams, he had 134 hits with 27 doubles 7 triples (7th most in the NL) two HRs 32 RBIs & 70 run scored. His 10 sacrifice hits were 8th most in the NL.  

Young also played a fine defense in the outfield making seven assists (4th in the NL) posting a .989 fielding %.

In 2013 the Mets finished third at 74-88.

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

2014:
Young was the Mets regular left fielder & leadoff man to start out the 2014 season. He would bat leadoff in 53 Mets games on the season.  

In the Opening Day loss to the Nat's, he collected an RBI sac fly.

Multi Hit- Multi Stolen Base Game: On April 10th, Eric had three hits in a 6-4 win in Atlanta. He stole a season high three bases in the game & collected a triple as well.

From April 5th thru April 26th, Young Jr. reached base safely in 19 straight games & scored twenty runs. 

On April 10th, Young Jr. scored a career high four runs while collecting three hits & matching his career high with three stolen bases in a game in a 6-4 win at Atlanta. That season he had his best success at Turner Field batting .308 while stealing six bases there.

In the month of April he stole 12 bases, second most by a Mets player in a that month in franchise history.  Jose Reyes stole 17 bases in April 2007.

Unfortunately, he struck out at least once in his first 17 games & had 28 whiffs thru his first 24 games to close out April.

After Juan Lagares & Chris Young came off the DL, Eric Young saw a less playing time, mostly due to the fact he was batting just .218 through May 11th.  But Chris Young fell into a slump & the way Eric Young made things happen when he did get on base, he couldn't be ignored. 

Eric Young & Eric Young Jr.
Multi-Hit Games: On May 11th he had the first of back-to-back multi-hit games, collecting three hits with a pair of runs scored in a 5-4 win over the Phillies.

On May 12th, he then collected three more hits including a two run HR off Alfredo Aceves, igniting a Mets comeback in a subway series game in the Bronx. He scored two runs in the 9-7 Met win. The next day he scored three more runs totaling seven runs scored in his past three games.

On May 25th he went on n the DL with a hamstring injury missing three weeks of action.

Making Bartolo Colon Run:
On June 18th in St. Louis, Bartolo Colon led off the 6th inning with a double to left field. Young Jr. then doubled into the right center field gap, allowing Colon to trot around third base & score a rare run to the comic delight of his teammates as well as the fans alike. Young added another RBI double in the 7th inning, driving in two runs helping Colon in the 3-2 win over the Cardinals.


Multi Stolen Base Game: On June 28th he matched his season high, stealing three bases in a 5-3 win over the Pirates in Pittsburgh. 

On July 13th he stole two more bases in a 9-1 win over the Miami Marlins. 

In the final two months of the season, he saw less playing time, batting just .222 with four stolen bases.
 
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. He struck out 60 times with 24 walks posting a .299 on base % & .610 OPS. 

His six assists as a left fielder were second best in that position. The Mets finished second at 79-83 with improvement coming for 2015.

Brief Post Mets Career: In the off season he signed on with the Atlanta Braves. After spending just 35 games with the Braves & batting .169, he returned to the Mets in September for the pennant run. By the time he arrived the Mets were 6.5 games atop the NL East.


Return to Mets-2015 Pennant Stretch: Eric would only get eight at bats but appeared in 18 games for the Mets, used mostly as a pinch runner. games he went 0-8 with 2015 Mets. 

Young added speed to the Mets lineup as well as some outfield depth. 

On September 5th, he got his only start of the month, got hit by a pitch & score a run in a 7-0 Mets win in South Florida.

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 game's inning run on David Wrights ground rule double.

By arriving in September, he celebrated with the team when they clinched the NL East in Cincinnati but did not make the post season roster. He was granted free agency after the World Series.

Mets Career: In his three years with Mets Eric Young Jr. played in 209 games batting .239 with 71 stolen bases. He collected 158 hits with 28 doubles 9 triples 2 HRs 43 RBIs & 105 runs scored.

Post Mets Career: In 2016 he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers playing at their AAA Colardo Springs team. His contract was then purchased by the A.L. New York team where he played in six games. 

 In 2017 he signed with the L.A. Angels where he would play for two seasons. In 2017 he played 47 games batting
 .264 with 4 HRs & 16 RBIs, stealing 12 bases. In 2018 he played in 41 games batting .202 with five stolen bases.


In 2019 he moved on to the Baltimore Orioles playing 13 Spring Training games, batting a solid .323 with 1 HR & 2 stolen bases, but was released on March 21st. Young then signed on with the Seattle Mariners but did not make the big-league squad.

Career Stats: In his ten-year career he played in 651 games with 162 stolen bases. He batted .245 with 422 hits 13 HRs 67 doubles 22 triples 112 RBIs & 275 runs scored. He struck out 350 times with 147 walks posting a .312 on base % & .643 OPS.

Retirement: After his MLB career he played two years in the Mexican League. He then became a minor league coach.

In 2022 he became the first base coach for the Washington Nationals. 

Family: Eric is married to his wife Victoria.

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