by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Eric Young Jr. is no savior, but his acquisition by the New York Mets (which was overshadowed by the performances of Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler on Tuesday) will have a significant impact both on the Mets and fantasy teams. First of all, take into account how desperately he was needed by the Mets:
- Prior to his acquisition Mets’ center fielders were hitting a league worst .192 (with 7 HR and 2 SB).
- Prior to his acquisition Mets’ leadoff hitters were hitting .207 (ahead of only the Twins) with 3 HR and 3 SB (which was worst in the league).
Now you get a player with the potential to be dynamic at the top of your lineup and those struggles hopefully become a thing of the past. Granted Young was hitting .242 prior to the trade, but you can argue that he was suffering from some poor luck with a .298 BABIP considering his speed.
It’s not like he swings at an incredible number of bad pitches, with a Z-Swing% of 30.1% (matching the league average). He swings at more pitches than most inside the strike zone (74.4% vs. league average of 65.2%), but he does make good contact on those swings (86.3% Z-Contact%).
His strikeout rate is not the issue (18.3% this season), though we would like to see it a bit lower. He also isn’t going to post a lofty line drive rate (18.9% this season, 19.1% last year). What he is going to do is put the ball on the ground and use his legs to get on base. With a player with his skill set, that’s exactly what we should be looking for.
He’s not a HR hitter. With improved luck he should see his average rise and with it will increase his overall value. Remember, he is the same player who had 27 SB in 229 PA for the Rockies in 2011 and stole as many as 87 bases in the minor leagues. If he gets on he is going to get the green light, especially playing for a team in desperate need of offense, and should help to buoy you in the category.
The Mets offense pales in comparison to the Rockies, but hitting atop the order should also allow Young ample opportunities to score runs with David Wright hitting behind him. Suddenly we are looking at a potential 3 category performer.
Just 28-years old, Young should be given an opportunity to prove that he can be a part of the Mets future (something the Rockies never really offered him). Given the significant need, look for him to get a lengthy look in New York.
The verdict for fantasy owners? Grab him mediately, especially if you have a need in SB.
What are your thoughts of Young? Is he a player you would add? Why or why not?