When Eric Young joins the Mets in Atlanta on Wednesday, a lot more is going to change than just his address and uniform. His playing time, the Mets leadoff situation and, of course, his fantasy ownership percentages are all due for an increase thanks to the trade that sent minor league pitcher Collin McHugh west to Colorado in exchange for the speedy outfielder. Perhaps because he is not a marquee name and all Mets eyes were glued to Zack Wheeler’s debut, the deal fell somewhat under the radar, so if you’re in need of a quick burst of speed and he’s available in your league, then a waiver claim is definitely recommended.
Young’s ownership percentages should tell you just how readily available he is right now in most leagues. Owned in just one-percent of Yahoo leagues, 0.8-percent on ESPN, and a big, whopping four-percent on CBS, the speedster has been overlooked for some time now without a regular job on the Rockies. He’s received some opportunities here and there, but with Dexter Fowler controlling center field and the team leaning more towards power than speed (Coors Field, duh), it hasn’t been easy for Young to break through and gain regular playing time. That should change with his move to the Mets as Collin Cowgill was sent to the minors, leaving just an inexperienced Juan Lagares and an under-performing Kirk Nieuwenhuis manning center field. Young immediately becomes a more attractive option.
Then there’s also the immense need for a leadoff hitter. So far, this season, the Mets have gotten bupkus in the way of production out of the leadoff spot as the hitters who have auditioned there have combined to produce a .207 average with a woeful .261 on-base percentage. From the top spot, they’ve combined for just 29 runs scored, three stolen bases and a dismal 5.8-percent walk rate. Now Young is exactly the master of drawing walks, but he has shown the ability to do so to a certain extent (career mark of 8.3-percent) and with normally strong contact rates, has been able to produce a career .329 on-base percentage. His current .290 OBP is dragging that number down right now, but he posted a career-mark of .377 just last season. With a regular opportunity atop this lineup, he should be able to improve on all of these numbers.
And let’s not forget that with the Mets ranking just 25th in the league in runs scored and just 23rd in stolen bases, they are obviously going to take as much advantage of Young’s speed as they possibly can. The team is in need of someone who can disrupt things on the base paths, get themselves into scoring position and help manufacture runs when necessary. Daniel Murphy has proven to be an excellent number two hitter and with Young getting on-base in front of him, the two should be fairly successful in setting the table for David Wright and the rest of the middle of the order. Maybe it’s just a managerial tendency or maybe it’s a lack of faith in what he has had to work with, but Terry Collins hasn’t exactly been generous with the green light on the bases this season. Perhaps that changes with the addition of Young’s legs.
I’ve said it time and time again — the stolen base category tends to be one of the easiest categories to move up in. The simple addition of Young should put you in a very favorable position to start moving up and stealing some points. Don’t miss out on him.
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