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5/25/1985 (31 y, 8 m, 29 d)
2003 June Amateur Draft - Round: 30, Pick: 10, Overall: 887, Team: Colorado Rockies
$1M / 1 Years (2016)
Young agreed to a minor league contract with the Angels on Tuesday, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. (1/24/2017)
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Eric Young Steals Our Hearts
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(Click Year to Expand /
While the son of EY racked up some remarkably impressive stolen base totals in the minor leagues – in 2006, he racked up 87 steals on 118 attempts in just 128 games – his future is still very much in question. His complete lack of power (just eight extra base hits in 250 big league plate appearances) means that it’s easy enough for opposing defenders to cheat in, taking away his one real weapon. Without some added strength, Young is going to find it difficult to get enough hits to put his speed to use, and will simply be relegated to setting records for quickest trips back to the dugout. The Rockies brought in Jose Lopez to give them another option at second base, and have been incessantly linked to Michael Young all winter, so they’re clearly not depending on Young as a vital cog in their offense. He’s probably going to max out as a utility player. (Dave Cameron)
The Quick Opinion:
With only one way to provide value, Young is easy to defend against, and his inability to succeed at anything besides running fast will likely keep him from ever being a big league regular.
Young made a great deal of progress at Triple-A, hitting .363 in his 42 games down in Colorado Springs, a great improvement over the .299 and .252 marks he had posted there the previous two years. His improved work showed at the majors, though aside from his stolen base total, the improvements didn’t show up in the superficial categories to which Rockies manager Jim Tracy pays attention. Young has improved his wOBA and wRC+ in each of his three Major League seasons to the point where he is now nearly league average, but it appears the Rockies have run out of patience with him. Chris Nelson, Jonathan Herrera, and now Marco Scutaro seem to have leapfrogged Young on the depth chart, and there is talk that he could be traded before the season starts. If that happens and he ends up with more playing time, he could be a sleeper just based on his stolen base count. (Paul Swydan)
The Quick Opinion:
Young is never going to be very good, but if he can improve to league average and net additional playing time, he could steal 60 bases in a season, something that will always have value on a fantasy squad.
Heading into 2012, Young had hit just .246/.324/.295 in 479 big league plate appearances, but he turned his career around in a big way in 2012 by posting a .316/.377/.448 line. The breakout was positively shocking, particularly because it came from an approach that saw him nearly halve his walk percentage. Young stopped hitting everything on the ground, and started putting more balls in the air, and it paid dividends. The Rockies also may have done him a favor by taking away his infielder's gloves -- he only played the outfield in 2012. Carson Cistulli estimated that if you prorated Young's season to 600 PAs, he would have been worth 5.5 WAR. But therein lies the rub. Young only started 28 games last season, and even following his breakout, doesn't figure to start much more frequently in 2013. A platoon of Young and Tyler Colvin would be quite effective, but the team is still choosing to ride with Michael Cuddyer, despite evidence -- both anecdotal and statistical -- that he doesn't have the range necessary for Coors Field. As such, Young is undraftable except in the deepest of leagues. (Paul Swydan)
The Quick Opinion:
Young made about as many strides as you can make in one season, but playing time will remain an issue, as the Rockies are still refusing to trade Michael Cuddyer.
The stuff that doesn't show up in a fantasy box score doesn't always matter. Plenty of players get opportunity after opportunity despite flaws on the field. But Eric Young's particular brand of problems are so deep that they threaten to end his career at any moment. It might be surprising to say this after the best fantasy season of his career, but it's worth repeating right now. He doesn't walk. He strikes out at a league average rate. He doesn't have power. Even in the corner outfield, his glove is not an asset. He's a one-trick pony -- speed is his only above-average tool. That speed makes him a fantasy asset, but reaping those awards again this year will require that his team look past all the issues that made him a near-replacement player in his breakout year. Will the Mets play him over surprising young defensive asset Juan Lagares despite his potential? Some talk of trading Daniel Murphy and installing Eric Young at his former position, but junior probably can't hack it at that position. One team saw him there for six years and decided he wasn't a second baseman, and it's rare to go against the defensive spectrum with age. At 28, Eric Young Jr is at or near his peak, and that might mean some fantasy value in the short-term. But don't forget how marginal he really is when you dream on 46 stolen bases. (
The Quick Opinion:
With Curtis Granderson, Juan Lagares and Chris Young in town, the Mets outfield is suddenly capable looking. That might mean Eric Young's flaws with the glove and at the plate will see his playing time dwindle despite the speed that will make fantasy owners interested. Be careful.
Eric Young’s contact and swinging-strike rates were his best in a three year span, however his strikeout rate jumped to 19%, particularly due to issues with putting balls in play when he had two strikes on him. In fact, for hitters with a swinging-strike rate between 8.6% and 8.9%, only Marcus Semien had a worse strikeout rate (27.5%). All others in this range had some fantasy value: Starlin Castro, Pablo Sandoval, Adeiny Hechavarria, Anthony Rizzo, Lonnie Chisenhall, Brett Lawrie, and Gregory Polanco. Matt Holliday and Josh Reddick are next up with strikeout rates under 16%. Of this group, Eric Young has the least value as a speed-only asset. The Mets agree as they non-tendered him. There is not much difference from which side of the plate he bats (.294 weighted on base average either way) so moving forward, I wouldn’t even consider him a platoon option to stream for stolen bases when you know he is starting. (
The Quick Opinion:
At 30 years old, Eric Young will only slow down.
The Brewers are obviously in a down cycle and will be looking to sell. Young’s path to playing time is to make the team out of Spring Training and then for the Brewers to either suffer some injuries or trade away an outfielder. He’s definitely relevant to fantasy owners because he can pile up steals like few other players in baseball. Young stole an impressive 46 bases in the only season he’s accrued more than 500 plate appearances (2013). While the volume is helpful, those steals would likely bring along a bad batting average. He doesn’t make good contact and his career average is .225. That makes him kind of like an older Billy Hamilton with less speed and no roster spot. If that’s not clear enough, how about this: Young is not draftable in any format unless he is clearly labeled as a starter. If he comes into playing time he would probably be worth an add during the season for teams who need steals and runs. Defensively, Young can be above average in left field, which helps in his quest to get at-bats. He’s also spent some time at second base in his career so playing time (and position eligibility) there would give him some more value. (Adam McFadden)
The Quick Opinion:
Young is a one trick pony, but that trick can be extremely valuable to the right fantasy team. He’s without a starting role and shouldn’t be considered in drafts. Keep an eye on his progress as the season gets going.
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Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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