Young wins NL stolen base crown
NEW YORK -- Since he joined the team on June 18 after being traded from the Rockies, Eric Young Jr. has helped stabilize the top of the Mets' lineup. Manager Terry Collins said Young has given the team the type of leadoff hitter it lost when Jose Reyes departed following the 2011 season. In return, the Mets gave Young a chance to play every day after being a part-time player in Colorado.
While he went through some rough patches at the plate, Young immediately injected speed into New York's lineup and became a force on the basepaths. Sunday's accomplishment proved that. With two stolen bases in the Mets' 3-2 win over the Brewers, Young finished the season with 46 steals to win the National League stolen base title.
"You always pride yourself on what your craft is," Young said. "To be recognized as one of the best in your league -- a tremendous honor."
Young singled in the first inning and then stole second and third base to give him two more steals than the Brewers' Jean Segura. Segura, battling a hamstring issue, wasn't in Milwaukee's starting lineup. Young scored on David Wright's sacrifice fly to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.
After the game, Young said he was going to steal the first chance he had.
"I don't think it was a surprise to anybody in the stadium," Young said. "Just glad I got a good jump."
Young is only the second Mets player to earn the NL stolen-base title after Reyes won it in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
Through 57 games with the Rockies, Young stole just eight bases. But in 91 with the Mets, he's swiped 38. Young, who stole 87 bases playing for Class A Asheville in 2006, had never stolen more than 27 in a Major League season.
"Obviously, coming into this situation with the Mets, I didn't know what to expect," Young said. "To be in this position on the last day, I'm thankful."
Collins has always made it clear that when Young's on base, he has the green light to run. That's his game, and the Mets have wanted him to grab the opportunity. Collins said he told Young after Sunday's game that if he had played every day with the Rockies, he would've won the title by 15.
While acknowledging Young has improvements to make in Spring Training to become more of a dynamic offensive player, Collins has lauded how much Young has meant to the Mets' lineup since coming over from Colorado. His stolen-base title affirms Collins' confidence in consistently writing Young's name at the top of the lineup.
"That's a great honor for him," Collins said. "Just really, really excited for him. He certainly deserved it."