It seems like I just wrote about Jared Young last month, yet when I look back to see the actual article, it was over seven months ago. Maybe that’s because it’s April and it’s only just now starting to feel as though winter is pulling back from the Midwest.
Young had an up-and-down first season at Eugene in 2017, but what I really liked about him was how he approached every at-bat. Even when he got off to such a poor start after signing, he worked every count he possibly could and it finally started to pay off in August.
Young is a second baseman with pretty good size and his future as a Cub could go several different ways. At 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, he has the ability to add muscle mass and produce more power. Whether he stays at second base or not is a discussion for a later day. Then again, he played some first and third this spring in Mesa.
It’s easy to overlook those first few weeks of his pro career, especially in light of an August in which he hit .323 with a .357 on base percentage. He did only hit one home run during that abbreviated stint, but he drove in 11 in his last 23 games. That’s a pretty good pace that would be close to 80 runs driven in at full-season ball.
And through seven games with South Bend, Young is slashing .393/.469/.750 with a homer, three doubles, and two triples. Not bad.
Leveling Up for 2018
One other thing I like about Young and his fellow position player draft picks is that they seem to be a bit more mature than your average prospect. Last year, the Cubs drafted several college position player, most of whom played at Eugene.
While I don’t think Young is going to rocket through the system, I do think he’s going to learn fairly quickly. That will only enhance his profile throughout the course of the year. The player we saw last summer is going to be different from the player we see this spring and the player we will see in July will also be different.
Another advantage in Young’s favor is the path he’s taken to get this point. He is used to being a new guy in a new place every year. Originally from Prince George in British Columbia, Young attended three colleges before he was taken by the Cubs last summer. He first played at Minot State in North Dakota where he hit .398 with 5 dingers. He then transferred to Connors State College, where he put together an amazing 2016 with a .480 average and 11 homers. In 2017 at Old Dominion, he cranked 7 home runs while hitting .384. He’s got this moving thing down.
As for the batter’s box, Young told the Prince George Citizen how he worked to master the mental aspects of the game:
“I’ve been working with (hitting coach) Chris Valaika and (manager) Jesus (Feliciano) on just the mental aspect of the game,” Young said. “And it’s just taking that to the plate and seeing a fastball and making sure you don’t miss them. I didn’t have the greatest of starts, and I’ll admit that.
“It was definitely mental, too. It’s been a couple of mechanical things that I’ve been working on, but to go on a streak like this, I think it’s more mental, staying the course and not staying too high or too low.”
I’d like to see him play some first base this summer just to enhance his profile as a possible utility guy. What I want to see most, though, is for him to continue his excellent approach at the plate and to develop more power as the year goes on. I’m not asking for 20 home runs every year from him, but I would like to see a gradual increase from year to year.
Young really seems to have the right mental makeup to do well and I cannot wait to pick his brain about hitting later this summer.