SPEED KILLS: Mets GM Wises Up & Improves Roster with Eric Young Acquisition

Kurt SuzukiEric Young Jr.Mike:

On June 18, Sandy Alderson traded Collin McHugh for Eric Young. Young is arbitration eligible for 2014, but not eligible for free agency until 2017. First of all, some final thoughts on McHugh, as he already fades from memory. I never saw anything from him that impressed me, and that includes his initial outing against the Rockies. I attended that game, and my friend Ken and I were actually laughing about how maybe he would impress Colorado and we could deal him. Well, Ken, it took a while but mission accomplished. Did you like him more than me Jimmy?


Never liked a single thing about him. “Command” guys rarely excite me.


Now to Young. I see the reason that he was available being that the Rockies figured he would be too pricey to keep as a utility guy. And they have three outfielders who are clearly better than Young. The match here sure looks good. We did not have anything near three outfielders better than Young. And we very well might not by Opening Day 2014. But the big thing you see with Young around is how badly we needed someone on this roster who could run. Young can fly.


I remember reading an old-time scout talk about working for Branch Rickey, and how they would have these huge open tryouts. Usually a waste of time, but sometimes they got lucky. The first thing they did — the very first thing — was time these guys going down the line. And if they didn’t make the cutoff with speed, that was it, goodbye. He wanted guys who could move, because speed helps defense, and defense rarely slumps. I coached a 13-yr-old travel team this year, the first time on the full 90-foot base paths, and the value of speed becomes so clear on that big field. There’s so much more ground to cover! For whatever reason, Sandy put together one of the slowest teams in all of baseball — maybe the slowest, when you consider Tejeda and Murphy up the middle — and in Citi Field that’s just never, ever going to work. As we’ve said a ka-zillion times already, if you build around pitching, then you need quality defense. And speed is at the core of good defense. You gotta have it. And if you don’t, hell, you better swing a big bat.


Eric Young Jr. CatchCorrect. When you watch the difference in our outfield defense with Young replacing Duda it is like night and day. Lucas doesn’t just have to hit to justify playing him in the outfield. He has to hit like crazy.


I’ve seen folks get a wee bit too excited about Young, projecting him as a possible answer to the Mets leadoff problems. Let me say right now: No.

No, no, no, no. He’s not that guy.

Eric Young is a role player, hits LHP far better than RHP, and can complement the right roster in many useful ways. A guy you pick your spots with. As a youth coach for many years, I’ve been involved in the decision-making for many All-Star teams. It’s not fun for a lot of reasons. But one guiding principle that I’ve come to believe in comes down to this: There will be a number of guys who obviously make the team. The best 5-6, or 7-8 players. Then it comes to rounding out the roster. That’s when it is far better to find the player who can do ONE THING really well than grabbing the next-best all around player. At the end of my roster, I want a kid with a great glove, or a kid who can hit (but maybe not field), or a kid who can run and steal a base. Otherwise all you get is mediocrity across the board. Because, obviously, it’s the end of the bench; the best overall guys are already on the field. At the end of the bench, it’s better to have a specific weapon — a guy who is really good at something — and again, I think Eric Young fills that bill.


Yes, but right now he is our best answer for leadoff. And as position players don’t just grow on trees it might be some time before he shifts to the back of our bench. Incremental roster progress is progress. This was a solid move by Sandy.


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  1. Josh Satin had himself a heck of a game last night. And, frankly, pushing himself into the conversation. Instead of wondering when Ike might be back, folks are noticing, “Satin is playing well.” He reminds me of Dave Magadan. Last night in the 13th, Satin had the key AB in the game with the Mets down by a run. He took two balls and swung hard at a 2-0 fastball. Good cut. With the count 2-1, he took a fastball on the low, outside corner. The count ran 2-2. The next pitch — I think, he might have fouled back another — Satin stayed back on a high change and drove into the opposite field gap for a double, aided by Cody Ross’ inability to come up with the ball cleanly (outfield defense, folks, outfield defense). Satin’s numbers are terrific right now in limited ABs. He’s never been high on my list of hopefuls, but so far he’s turning heads, including mine.

  2. We make fun of Terry Collins from time to time, his “Gee Whiz” brand of cluelessness, but I don’t recall him having too many innings as bad as Kirk Gibson had in the 13th. Walking Buck with Harvey on-deck was ridiculous, because in effect he turned turned a .129 hitter into an effective bunter. Then with runers at 2nd and 3rd, he again gave an intentional walk to Quintanilla to load the bases. That put the pitcher in a tough spot, less margin for error, and created another bad matchup. High fastball pitcher against high fastball hitter. Andrew Brown got three of them. Fouled the first two back and won the game with the last pitch thrown on the night. Things are not going well for Mr. Gibson in Arizona. That 13th inning gave us a clue as to why.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Bucks night last night was the following.
      Strikeout looking
      Strikeout swinging
      Strikeout swinging
      Popup to first
      Walk !
      Intentional Walk !!!
      Intentional Walk !!!

      When was the last time Buck was walked intentionally twice in a row? High school?

  3. kranepool says:

    it is nice to see 3 outfielders who can actually make plays on balls that are not hit right at them.

    • Michael Geus says:

      Thanks for stopping by Steve, and yes! Anyone would love a few big hitting outfielders but until that time just give me guys who can go get it.

      This is much more enjoyable to watch, and fits our park by the way. I don’t believe in Lagares bat at all but I was at the game last night and he is covering a TON of ground in center. Very impressive range.

  4. Eric says:

    Public Confessions:

    Marlon Byrd: Nice move by Snady and Crew—he actually has Trade Value…Trade him

    EY Jr: Extremely good trade…and ear to the ground move. He’s an excellent and useful player. Runs well…multi position switch hitting gadget—can spot CF and 2b… Very nice move. You can play him for extended spans and he won’t hurt you—an ideal “Spotter”…1 day here, another there. Great Move

    • BTW, did you see that the 9th inning double was really a HR? That’s a hell of a thing to do — hit a game-tying homer in the 9th inning (even if it was incorrectly ruled a double).

      Some crazy facts: Busted for PEDs when? A year ago? Two years? In 2009, age 31, in a bandbox known as Arlington, Byrd hit a career high 20 HR. Next highest? Twelve, which he did once. After that, ten, two times. also in Texas. Career high SLG: .479. Career SLG average: .417.

      He currently has 12 HRs and a SLG of .489.

      The lesson might be (as with Puello, incidentally): PEDs might be worth the 50-game suspension, that shit don’t wear off so quickly! Maybe that’s the new trick, sign guys who’ve been busted for PEDs.


      • Eric says:

        That ball hit on the Orange Line.

        Puello— Put him in RF Every Day after Byrd is traded. …. Or wait ’til July 2015 to preserve Super 2 status.

  5. Eric says:

    Mets need to sit Josh down and let him know that he’s upsetting Ike.

    • Michael Geus says:

      We have a winner!

      • Tom M says:

        Did you see Terry’s comment on Satin, he is our savior because this guy has come up and filled a big hole for us.

        Poor Ike, long distance love affairs are tough to maintain.

        Magadan is a good comp for Satin, lot of plate discipline, warning track power. The plate discipline has to be giving Hudgens a chubby.

  6. Eraff says:

    Byrd has become a trade chip. Hefner is becoming a nice Pitcher. The Young trade was excellent.

    If I retract all the negative things I’ve said about THE TROIKA— how will I then look back on the past 6 months and assess the meaning of my life?

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