Carolina notes: Young locked in with Pelicans

After rocky transition to new league, Cubs prospect back on track

Pelicans' Jared Young is batting .313/.373/.501 with 15 doubles, six triples, 12 homers and 64 RBIs this season. (Paul R. Gierhart/MiLB.com)

By Damien Sordelett / Special to MiLB.com | August 1, 2018 10:00 AM

Jared Young was in a rhythm at the plate as the calendar changed from June to July.

The Chicago Cubs' 15th-round selection from the 2017 Draft racked up hits aplenty with Class A South Bend, and his subsequent promotion to Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach was almost a foregone conclusion in early July.

However, the Old Dominion University graduate fell into a minor slump upon joining the Pelicans. He was overswinging and trying to do too much.

That's when Myrtle Beach hitting coach Ty Wright stepped in and told Young this: "Slow down, trust your swing and good things will happen."

No mechanical changes. No tinkering. It was all about getting the first baseman's mentality back on track.

"That's exactly what it was. He didn't change anything," Young said. "He kind of just said, 'Hey, be who you are. Don't try and do too much.' It was pretty cool hearing that from him."

The advice has benefited the 23-year-old native of Prince George, British Columbia, who has begun hitting at a torrid pace in the Carolina League. In his last 16 games heading into Tuesday, he hit .361 (22-for-61) with two home runs, two doubles and 10 RBIs.

"I'm not really a big numbers guy. I just want to stay consistent," he said. "That's more of my goal, just stay consistent through the course of the season and help the Pelicans win some games down the stretch here."

He carried a 29-game on-base streak into Tuesday, dating back to June 28 with South Bend in the Midwest League, and he's reached base at least once in 77 of his 89 games this season.

Video: Young walks it off for Myrtle Beach

While he's shown a knack for working walks, the left-handed hitter can certainly drive the ball, too. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Young is batting .313/.373/.501 with 15 doubles, six triples, 12 homers and 64 RBIs this season.

"I think just staying relaxed and knowing that you play basically every day for about 140 games," he said. "So don't get too high or too low, really. If things are going bad, they'll turn around. You have another game tomorrow. If things are going good, you've got another game tomorrow, and it can humble you pretty quick."

Young, who began his collegiate career at Minot State in North Dakota before transferring to Connors State in Oklahoma and then to Old Dominion, has learned from that experience how to handle moving around in the professional ranks. While there are differences -- dorms and homework are out; apartments and scouting reports are in -- Young maintains his focus on the game and having fun with each new stop.

"I don't really try to think of it too much," he explained. "I'm just out here playing baseball on a new team and just want to do well."

When Young absorbed Wright's advice, it didn't take him long to become a valuable piece in the middle of the Pelicans lineup.MiLB include

He delivered in the 12th inning Saturday night against the Lynchburg Hillcats, hammering a no-doubt walk-off hit to deep center field to cap a 3-for-5 performance and give Myrtle Beach a 1-0 victory. To date, that's the Pelicans' longest game of the season in terms of innings played, and it also marked the first time Young had to race away from his swarming teammates armed with cups of cold water.

"It's been a while. That was my first professional one," he said. "It was a pretty great feeling, I've got to say that. I think that might be the first time I've got all the water and stuff splashed on me. It was pretty cool."

In brief

Perkins settling in: Blake Perkins seems to have finally settled into his new home with the Kansas City Royals. The outfielder, acquired in the June 18 trade that sent reliever Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals, has been sizzling at the plate with the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Royals' No. 16 prospect extended his on-base streak Sunday to 16 games, and he's batting .313 with an on-base percentage better than .500 during the streak. He leads the Carolina League in walks (74) and runs scored (73).

Driving a Mercedes: The respite from the diamond during the Carolina League All-Star break certainly was welcomed by Winston-Salem Dash catcher Yermin Mercedes. The 25-year-old native of the Dominican Republic is hitting .333 in the second half after back-to-back 2-for-4 performances over the weekend at Salem. His on-base plus slugging percentage has climbed to .911 in the second half, and he has already exceeded first-half RBI total with 21.

Another healthy staff: Not too long ago, the Myrtle Beach starting rotation was carrying the team through a lengthy stretch. Now, the Frederick Keys staff has caught fire. Frederick starters have posted a 2.92 ERA (21 earned runs in 64 2/3 innings) in their last 12 starts, with seven quality outings mixed in. The Keys are 9-3 in the span, rebounding from a dismal 7-19 start to the second half.

Damien Sordelett is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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