Ever since Jose Reyes left as a free agent at the end of the 2011 season, the New York Mets have not had a legitimate leadoff hitter. Then all of a sudden, with injuries taking their toll on the ball club, enter Eric Young Jr. Young was picked up on June 12 of this year from the Colorado Rockies, and has played great ever since coming to New York. In 24 games played with the Mets, Young is hitting .308 with 10 RBI. But there is so much more he is adding to the table. Young has filled the role of leadoff hitter for the team, a spot that has needed filling since Reyes left.
In the time since Reyes departed for more money, the Mets have tried everything to find a leadoff hitter. The team has used guys like Rubin Tejada, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Omar Quintanilla, Collin Cowgill and even Daniel Murphy as leadoff hitters, but nothing has really seemed to work. In order to be effective, a leadoff man needs to be able to get on base, steal bases and create offense with their foot speed. Young posses those qualities the best out of anybody they have tried as a leadoff man. Right now, Young has a .380 on base percentage with eight steals, all in the 24 games he has played in New York. In the past, most successful leadoff hitters have a tendency to play difficult positions in the field.
Young was originally brought in after Lucas Duda went down with an injury. Since Young has come on board, he has provided stability at that leadoff spot, which is something the Mets have needed for over a year and a half already. After Duda got injured, the Mets needed some stability in the outfield, which has been a weak spot for the club for a while now. Young gets picked up, makes some great catches in left field, and the Mets now have stability in the corner outfield spot.
No disrespect to any of the other guys the Mets has tried hitting leadoff, as they are all great ballplayers. None of them were really meant to be set as leadoff hitters. Young not only gives them a leadoff hitter, but he gives them a spark in the outfield. With Young hitting leadoff, it’s the perfect marriage for the Mets. It gives Young a team and allows him to play everyday. Also, it allows the Mets to get a guy in who has hit leadoff, and fills a big hole in that batting order. Now the big question here is … can Young stay healthy and remain in that leadoff spot the rest of the year? I say he can and he will become an everyday outfielder for this team.