Jared Young was a late-round draft pick by the Chicago Cubs who didn’t draw much interest early on, but his stellar 2018 season turned some heads—and rightfully so.
The Cubs drafted the British Columbia native in the 2017 MLB Draft out of Old Dominion University. Despite a tremendous junior season at Old Dominion, during which he batted .367 with seven home runs, he wasn’t drafted until the 17th round.
Young started his professional career with the Eugene Emeralds in 2017 and had a fairly average season with low power numbers—he slashed .257/.311/.336 in short-season ball. But in 2018, Young’s ascension began.
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A stellar 2018
Young started 2018 at Low-A South Bend and basically never stopped hitting. In 69 games there, he batted .313 with a .368 on-base percentage. His power numbers also took a big jump. After hitting just one home run in Eugene, he hit 10 in South Bend alone, and his slugging percentage increased from .336 to .525.
Young got a well-earned promotion to High-A Myrtle Beach on July 7 and barely slowed down at all, despite facing higher caliber arms in the Carolina League. He played in 51 games at the new level, batting .282 with a .341 on-base percentage. His power numbers regressed slightly but were still above average, as his slugging percentage landed at .431 and he hit six home runs to bring his season total to 16.
Interestingly enough, Young is one of three former Old Dominion Monarchs who were part of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans roster in 2018: outfielder Connor Myers and catcher P.J. Higgins both spent time at High-A before moving up to Double-A Tennessee later in the season.
Young capped off his 2018 ascension by being named the Cubs’ Minor League Player of the Year in September. He was honored at Wrigley Field in late September to recognize his exceptional season in the organization.
Can he keep it up?
Young was primarily a middle infielder in college, but he moved to first base for much of 2018 while playing in the outfield frequently as well. He adjusted to the new position well and looks likely to remain there in the future.
Young could remain in Myrtle Beach in 2019 or make the jump to Double-A Tennessee. There’s always the chance he could regress at the higher levels of the minors, but his ability to adjust to both Low-A and High-A pitching in 2018 bodes well and should have Cubs fans excited about the depth rising through the farm system.
2019 will be a telling season for Young, as he’ll almost certainly get time at the Double-A level at some point. If he’s able to handle that transition as well as the promotion he had last summer, he could continue to rise through the ranks quickly.