Tracy praises Young for embracing his role

Tracy praises Young for embracing his role

Tracy praises Young for embracing his role
MIAMI -- Eric Young hasn't seen many at-bats this season for the Rockies, but he has embraced his role off the bench.

The fourth-year utility player had just 29 at-bats in 26 games entering Tuesday's action, earning three starts. Still, Young earned praise from manager Jim Tracy.

"I need to give a tip of the cap to this kid ... and the job that he's done," Tracy said. "I'm not necessarily saying that down the road that this is the role for Eric Young Jr. as he goes into his future, but I do have to say that in relation to the role that he's serving on our club right now, I don't think you could ask him to do much more than he's done."

Tracy went on to laud Young for striving to do his best day-in and day-out while embracing his current role as a utility player and late-game substitution. Before Tuesday's game, Young was on the field early fielding some ground balls at second base and shortstop, because Tracy wants him to have experience there should the situation ever call for Young to play the infield.

One particular aspect of Young's game that Tracy has been impressed with has been how Young has been using his biggest strength as a baseball player -- his speed.

"He's recognizing what it was that got him here and what it is that will keep him here, and that is he's one of the fastest guys in the league and balls in the air won't work for him," the skipper said.

While the sample size of at-bats is limited, Young has hit fly balls just 17.6 percent of the time, according to FanGraphs. Ground balls have been hit 41.2 percent of the time and another 41.2 percent have been line drives. During his first three years in the league, Young hit fly balls 22, 29.3 and 22.8 percent of the time, respectively.

"Hit balls on the ground and hit the ball sharply on the line, making people field the ball realizing that he's flying down the line," Tracy said. "It's going to get him to first base, get him opportunities to steal bases."