Posted in Baseball

Eric Young Jr. signs minor league deal with Brewers

Eric Young Jr. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Eric Young Jr. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Utility man and pinch runner Eric Young Jr. has signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers that includes an invitation to their spring training camp.

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Ex-Mets update

Eric Young Jr. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Eric Young Jr. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Former Mets OF Eric Young Jr. will get a chance to compete for a job on the Atlanta Braves this spring. He will be battling Trenton Thunder alumni Zoilo Almonte for the chance to platoon with Jonny Gomes in left field.

Young, 29, managed to steal 30 bases for the Mets  last year despite a dreadful .229 batting average and .299 on-base percentage.

I’m not sure that Young will make the team, but if he’s wearing an Atlanta Braves uniform when they play the Mets I bet Young will haunt his old club.

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Random thoughts on some early hot stove season news and rumors

baseballsKansas City Royals fans are on the verge of celebrating their team’s first trip to the World Series since 1985. San Francisco Giants fans and St. Louis Cardinals fans are hoping that their teams will be the one to represent the National League.

Mets fans get to talk about outfield dimensions, who could be the team’s next hitting coach, whether certain players won’t be offered contracts to save money, and if a former GM will land a job with the New York Yankees. Fun stuff.

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Eric Young Jr. & the leadoff spot: making the best of a bad situation

Eric Young Jr. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Eric Young Jr. (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

When Eric Young Jr. stole two bases in the final game of the season last September to cement his status as the National League’s leading base stealer, it gave Mets fans a little something to cheer for after the pre-game ceremony honoring Mike Piazza had ended.

The June 18th, 2013 trade for Young was a turning point in the Mets season – not because Young is a great player, but because it meant they stopped playing Lucas Duda in left field. And Duda is one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball history. Young also gave Terry Collins a regular leadoff hitter, although he wasn’t very good at it.

While many fans and big league managers fall into the trap of thinking a leadoff hitter needs to be fast, that’s only part of the equation. Leadoff hitters need to get on base above all else, and Young is not particularly good at doing that.

  • Cincinnati’s Joey Votto led the National League with a .435 on-base percentage. Cincinnati’s Shin-Soo-Choo had the highest on-base percentage in baseball as a regular leadoff hitter – .432.
  • Eric Young  had a .318 on-base percentage in 2013, just slightly lower than his .325 career mark.

Some take hope from the fact that Young had a significantly higher on-base percentage when he was actually leading off an inning – .380. With no one on base, Young’s on-base percentage was .343. With runners on base, his on-base percentage was just .260.

If Eric Young is going to play on a regular basis, it does make a certain amount of sense to put him at the top of the lineup to maximize his skills. But on a good team, Eric Young shouldn’t be a regular player – he doesn’t hit for power or average, he doesn’t walk, and he doesn’t play great defense.

To his credit, Collins seems to recognize that Young has these shortcomings. The Mets’ manager told reporters this week that he’d like Young to have a .350 on-base percentage. Collins believes Young can do this by bunting more and being more selective early in the count. I don’t know how much Young is willing (or able) to change his game at age 28, but I hope he can figure out how to get on base more often.

There is not an ideal leadoff hitter on the New York Mets’ roster, and Collins seems to have his heart set on playing Eric Young. It would be nice if he rewarded his manager’s faith.

You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickr and Instagram, and follow @Paul_Hadsall  on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.

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Some 2013 Topps Update Series Mets baseball cards

I have not been in a store that sells baseball cards in a few weeks, so I had more or less overlooked the release of this year’s Topps Update series.

Fortunately, one of my friends gave me most of the Mets cards that are included in the basic series.

David Wright's Home Run Derby card
David Wright’s Home Run Derby card

I think this is the first year I’ve ever cared about any of the All-Star Game Home Run Derby cards Topps throws into the update series. (Then again, this summer was the first time in years I actually watched any portion of the Home Run Derby.)

Matt-Harvey-AS David-Wright-ASG

The mandatory All-Star Game cards are a bit cooler this year because of the game’s location, too. (Not cool enough for me to worry about chasing down the short-print variations, though.)

Juan-Lagares Zack-Wheeler-debut

Juan Lagares and Zack Wheeler both get official “Rookie Cards,” though I was hoping Lagares would get a cooler photo on his.


Although he’s now a Pittsburgh Pirate (for a few more days, anyway), Marlon Byrd finally gets his first (not counting an online-distribution only relic card featuring a piece of a Chicago Cubs jersey)


The Target-exclusive parallel version of Eric Young Jr.‘s first Mets baseball card. Young did get a cool photo, probably from his walk-off home run against the Kansas City Royals.

There are two more Mets cards in the update series base set: a second one for Zack Wheeler and one for Shaun Marcum.  I suppose I need to track them down at some point for completeness, along with the regular version of Young’s card.

Note: if you’re seeing the baseball card images with rounded corners, that’s because of the display theme of the blog – they have standard corners and have not been trimmed.