Yankees Acquire Outfielder Eric Young Jr. from the Brewers
The New York Yankees acquired speedy outfielder Eric Young Jr. from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for cash considerations Wednesday.
The Yankees have found their designated pinch runner for September with rosters expanding this month. Last year, New York gave the honor to Rico Noel, who stole five bags in seven attempts down the stretch. It was Noel’s first (and possibly only) taste of the big leagues.
This season it appears the job will go to veteran Eric Young Jr., who came over to the Yankees from Milwaukee Wednesday. The team assigned him to Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre for the moment, but it seems logical that he would be in the first wave of call-ups Thursday.
Young comes with a more impressive resume than the typical September pinch runner. He’s played seven big league seasons for the Rockies, Mets, and Braves, compiling a .247/.314/.328 career slash line. He’s also swiped 144 bases in 179 attempts during his time in MLB (80.5% success rate).
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His most recent major league action came last season, which he split between the Mets and the Braves. He hit a miserable .152/.217/.247 in just 94 plate appearances.
Understandably, Young was unable to land a big league job in 2016 following that performance. He spent the year with the Brewers Triple-A affiliate after signing a minor league pact with them this winter. In 329 plate appearances for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, Young hit .263/.338/.339 with 23 steals in 29 attempts (79.3% success rate).
While that’s not terrible, he certainly wasn’t forcing his way back onto a 25-man roster either. This might be Young’s last hurrah in MLB, although he’s just 31.
I remember he was pretty fun to watch on the bases with the Mets for a few years there, and it still seems like he’s got the speed to be a difference-maker. The Yankees don’t really need much else from Young at this point. The team has no shortage of outfielders, and he was never much of a hitter even in his prime.
This may not be the most exciting move in the world, but it’s a necessary one. New York doesn’t have any real burners in the upper-minors this season to fill this role. The club is in a close race for the second Wild Card, and every day needs to be approached like it is a playoff game.
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You never know when a crucial stolen base in the late innings is going to be the deciding factor in a team’s season. Young is a proven commodity and should fill the role ably next month.