Several names jump out within the Cubs organization for those who had a great season with the 2018 regular season for minor league baseball officially at an end. Arguably, one of the best performances of the season came from first base prospect and recently named Chicago Cubs Minor League Player of the Year, Jared Young.
Young, a native of Prince George, British Columbia, was taken by the Cubs in the 15th round of the 2017 MLB draft out of Old Dominion University. He previously attended Connors State College and Minot State University. He wasn't attracting as much attention from scouts as he hoped, so Young continued to move until he found a school with a baseball program that was the right fit him in Old Dominion University.
He was primarily a second baseman for the Norfolk, Va. based college where he set multiple school records, but the Cubs moved him to first base and outfield to further increase his versatility and value within the organization.
The 23-year-old has enjoyed making the move to first, but he was surprised on Opening Night this year when he played first base for the very first time in a game. "I couldn't believe I was at first base, especially on Opening Night," recalled Young. "It was nerve wracking but it went fine."
Young quickly became one of the hottest hitters in the Cubs system. He was named Cubs Minor League Player of the Month for June and July, earning the honor at single-A and advanced-A. He played 69 games with South Bend where he hit .313/.368/.525, as well as 13 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs and 53 RBIs.
The first baseman was promoted to Myrtle Beach on July 7 where he posted a slash line of .282/.341/.431, including six doubles, two triples, six home runs, 23 RBIs and six stolen bases. Additionally, Young also had a 34-game on-base streak split between his time with South Bend and Myrtle Beach.
Young says his approach at the plate changes occasionally, but he focuses on keeping things simple. "Just see the ball and try not to expand the zone," he elaborated.
With his first full season of professional ball under his belt, Young has taken away a strong sense of the discipline it takes to reach his full potential. "You can't get too hard on yourself or full of yourself because things can change pretty quick," he said of his mindset throughout the 140-game season.
Although Young made his presence known this season, he's already planning on working on his overall strength, as well as becoming more comfortable with first base and the outfield. "You got another long season ahead and your body has to be ready for it."