On June 18, Sandy Alderson traded Collin McHugh to the Rockies for Eric Young Jr. in an exchange of players recently designated for assignment. The move seemed inconsequential at the time, and though it might not seem like a huge deal even in hindsight, it ended up adding 1.7 WAR to the Mets' outfield in only 91 games.
Young provided the Mets with speed and excitement while helping improve the outfield from "potentially terrible" to "not that bad."" Mets fans would grow to love EY’s hustle, diving catches, and stolen bases.
Young’s legs remained his biggest asset. He added the third most value on the bases, according to FanGraphs BsR, of any major leaguer. His two steals on the final day of the season guaranteed him a stolen base crown despite only 598 plate appearances and a .310 on-base percentage.
Young’s .249/.310/.336 line for the season leaves a lot to be desired, and the defensive metrics don’t like him very much in the outfield either.
The Mets appear to think highly of Young, and might try him out at second base if they trade Daniel Murphy. While his bat will certainly profile better at second, his defense would remain a question, and he will still need to add a ton of points to his on-base percentage to justify being a regular.
Even if the Mets trade Murphy, there’s a chance Young still sits behind Wilmer Flores—or a decent external option—on the depth chart. There’s a spot for him as a backup outfielder, but he's not going to get much regular playing time now that the Mets have added Curtis Granderson and Chris Young this offseason.
Desired role for 2014: Utility player (outfield and second base) and pinch runner.
Expected role for 2014: Fourth outfielder.