I love watching Eric Young Jr. play baseball. He plays hard, he runs fast, he’s connected to the Rockies past, he’s an inspiration to many people, and he was nice to me that one time I sat next to him at a Colorado Springs Sky Sox lunch (I’m a bragger, I know. Forgive me, I don’t have many brushes with professional athletes). In his piece about him this morning, Troy Renck sums up the reasons that EY Jr. is a fan favorite:
“Even in a limited role, Young has been a popular player. Rockies fans know his father, Eric Young Sr., and Young makes a habit of signing autographs and interacting with fans on Twitter. His visit to Children’s was sandwiched around making housing arrangements for the upcoming season. He and his wife, Victoria, who has volunteered at hospitals, weren’t about to miss spreading cheer at Children’s.”
Great guy, easy to cheer for. And his speed is a game-changer. As such, Walt Weiss is determined to find ways to get EY Jr. into the lineup. He won’t necessarily be an everyday player, but Weiss will try to use spots in the infield and outfield to get Young’s speed at the top of the batting order more frequently.
Renck’s piece is entitled: “Eric Young gives Rockies options on offense and defense.” I would like to respectfully suggest a correction to that. Take out the “and defense” part. He does not provide options on defense; he provides a headache. Things would not be so complicated with him, and it would not take such creativity to get him in the lineup, if he was a capable Major League defender at even one of his three four five positions.
This year Young Jr. is back in the mix for some time at second base. That issue has become quite the vicious circle, has it not? This feels like the 6th time that we have gone round and round between saying he is “just an outfielder” and saying that he can play in the infield too. He got moved to the outfield for a reason, right? And now we’re talking about playing him at 3rd base, too? He’ll make Jordan Pacheco look like Ryan Zimmerman. This team, coming off a season in which they had the worst defense in all of baseball, cannot afford to give runs away in the field. Yet they are looking at seriously tinkering with a guy who is a liability anywhere he plays. Saying that he “gives them options” is not how I would phrase that.
One other quick correction: at the end of the article Weiss offered a favorite cliche: “Speed doesn’t have a bad day.” Um…it does when dudes get stupid, take unnecessary chances, get picked off, and otherwise run into outs. But hey, as long as they’re aggressive, right?
Finally, I am beginning to get the feeling that the Rockies aren’t into “exercising.” Check out this explanation for Young’s oblique injury last year: “Looking back at his rib injury, the Rockies’ training staff believed Young might have been too fit. So Victoria was told to cook for four during the offseason, with her husband eating for three.” I mean, there might be something to what they are saying, but that still sounds silly. Exercise less and eat more. And eat more hamburgers and stuff.
Oh, the Rockies…