In less than two months Eric Young Jr. has made himself a favorite among Mets fans. He plays with a dynamic of speed and hustle that this team has sorely missed and it has been fun to watch. Coming into the season, the outfield was the biggest question mark defensively and no one knew who was going to bat lead off, Young has become the answer to both of those problems.
The Mets traded pitcher Collin McHugh for the 28-year-old outfielder in the middle of June after the Rockies had designated Young for assignment. Young had become the odd man out in the Rockies outfield rotation and came into a great situation where the Mets had no set outfield whatsoever upon his arrival. He has taken the opportunity that he was given and ran with it. Since joining the Mets Young is hitting .271 with 15 stolen bases and 46 hits in just 40 games.
You can’t help but enjoy the play you are getting from Young, Juan Lagares and Marlon Byrd in the outfield as of late. The defense we have been seeing out of these three makes me never want to suffer through watching Lucas Duda track down a fly ball again. There’s three have solidified the Mets have outfield and finally given Terry Collins a group he can pencil into the line up everyday.
Last night Young made a tremendous diving catch in the sixth inning with two outs to save a few runs in a crucial part of the game. Later he went on to score what would be the winning run on a hustle play as he scored from second base on a Lagares infield single. His speed has added a dimension the Mets have not had since Jose Reyes left town. He might not be in the same class of Reyes, in his healthy years, when it comes to stealing bases, but he is certainly capable of stealing his fair share.
Young may have earned the respect of fans across the country with the way he handled himself after the horrific Tim Hudson accident. In what was one of the more gruesome looking injuries you will ever see, Young was there to consult Hudson and have his deepest apologies felt by his family. He was a class act every step of the way from an incident that was nothing more than a case of the wrong place at the wrong time for Tim Hudson.
The final stretch of the season will be an important one for Young. He will certainly be the everyday outfielder as he is receiving a tryout of sorts to see if he could be a piece of this teams future. It’s players that possess Young’s character and hustle that I want this team to load up on. Plus he also has the best at bat music on the team, “Forever Young” gets me every time he steps to the plate. I hope he can continue to play at this level and sticks with the Mets going forward.