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Opening Day Countdown: Eric Young Jr. #24

A mere two dozen days stands between us and real baseball.

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The original Eric Young played major league baseball for fifteen years. Two of those years--2002 and most of 2003--were spent with the Brewers. Now his son, the aptly named Eric Young Jr, has the chance to play for Milwaukee as well. The 30 year old outfielder comes to the Brewers at the right time. But even with a wide open battle for center field, Young has a tough battle to break camp with the major league roster.

EY Junior has played in parts of seven seasons at the major league level. That makes him the most senior member of the outfielders vying for that center field job. But in those seven season, only once did he play a full season. That was back in 2013 with the Rockies and Mets. And in that year he only accumulated 0.8 fWAR.

He has appeared able to play all three outfield spots, though none of them adeptly. He's played left field the most--1794 innings--followed by center field--420 innings--and then right--293 innings. He's been approximately average in left and center. But the advanced metrics peg him as below average in right field. It should be noted that for advance metrics to be considered reliable, one requires three seasons of data. We simply don't have enough information to make any strong claims.

His speed on the bases at least suggests he should be able to man center field--though that's not always true. In his only full season--598 plate appearances--Young accumulated 46 stolen bases! He also stole 27 in 2011 with 229 PA. And in 316 PA during the 2014 season he stole 30 bases. That's elite speed, but it's also about all he offers on offense.

In 1683 career plate appearances he owns a 247/314/328 slash line which is 26% below average. Turns out that's not a good thing. He's a switch hitter, but I thought maybe he might have splits that could be taken advantage of.

EYJ vs RHP: 242/315/325, 74 wRC+
EYJ vs LHP: 257/314/334, 74 wRC+


I don't mean to suggest that Eric Young Jr has no place on a major league roster. I just wonder if that major league roster is another team's. He strikes me as a competent fourth outfielder. He can play each position well enough. He hasn't been able to hit that well, but most fourth or fifth outfielders don't. He does have electric speed. That makes me think he's a better fit on an American League team that could better utilize him as a fifth outfielder/pinch runner.