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Eric Young is Bucking The ‘Fantasy Baseball Sleeper’ Label

With 47 stolen bases in his first 105 games as a New York Met, Eric Young Jr. is no longer a fantasy baseball sleeper but a big time waiver wire target.

Eric Young
Eric Young

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past two days, Eric Young’s Yahoo fantasy ownership has shot up to 37 percent. Consider the Mets’ speedy outfielder a sleeper no more as Young has picked up right where he left off in 2013 – burning the basepaths.

Even though the speedster was overlooked by most during the preseason (which is ironic considering how high fantasy owners were on guys like Billy Hamilton and Leonys Martin), this is a guy who stole more bases last season than anyone not named Jacoby. More importantly, 38 of those came in just 91 games with the Mets after he was sent packing by Colorado. Over just 105 games under Terry Collins since last summer, Young has now stolen 47 bases in a Mets uniform.

Young was a depth player in Colorado, appearing in just 313 games between 2009 and 2013. Although he showed promise in 2012, batting .316 with 14 steals, he never got a chance to shine on the Rockies.

Last season, prior to being traded to the Mets, he batted .242 with just eight steals over 57 games. As soon as he arrived in Queens, he was given the green light and stole 38 bases in a little over three months.

Because his entire playing style has changed since coming to Queens, it’s fair to throw everything we know about Eric Young’s time in Colorado out the window and look at who the 28-year-old is now.

So far on the season, Young is batting his usual .255 and has struck out a fairly concerning 20 times. Despite all that, he leads the National League with 12 runs scored and is second only to Dee Gordon with nine stolen bases. All this despite batting in a mediocre Mets lineup.

When New York brought in Curtis Granderson and Chris Young as free agents during the offseason, it appeared that EY was the odd man out as homegrown Juan Lagares would take over the centerfield job between the two veterans. Instead, injuries have allowed Young to not only stay in the lineup but shine as much as anyone on the Amazin’s.

Last season, Young averaged a steal every 2.4 games with the Mets. So far, he’s averaging a steal every 1.6 games. How many swipes can we realistically expect from Young this season? At last season’s rate, Young could steal another 58 bases over the next 140 games. At his current, seemingly unsustainable rate, he would steal about 87 bases, which seems… unlikely.

He only had 418 plate appearances in New York last season and still stole 38 bases. A full season should certainly see Young post well over 50 swipes while also scoring some much-needed runs and batting at a passable rate.

Regardless of what Young did as a role player with the Rockies, he is the Mets’ leadoff man, he’s here to stay, and he most certainly has the green light every time that he’s on base. If you need help in the speed categories, you don’t need to look farther than the guy who led the National League in steals last season and has a very good chance to do it again in 2014.

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