The Nationals have hired Eric Young Jr. as their new first base coach. The news was revealed by Young’s father, Braves first base coach Eric Young Sr., who was speaking with reporter Jose de Jesus Ortiz (Twitter link) prior to Game 1 of the World Series. Young Jr. will replace Randy Knorr, who was reassigned to a player development role earlier this month after spending the 2021 season as Washington’s first base coach.
This is the first big league coaching role for Young, who spent the 2021 season on the coaching staff of the Mariners’ Triple-A affiliate in Tacoma. The 36-year-old is only two years removed from the end of his playing career, as Young played with Triple-A Tacoma and in the Mexican League in 2019. He was set to return to the Mexican League in 2020 before the season was canceled due to the pandemic.
Young is a veteran of 10 MLB seasons, spending the bulk of his career with the Rockies (313 games from 2009-13) and the Mets (209 games in two separate stints). While he had only a couple of above-average seasons at the plate, Young was a feared baserunner in his prime, including a 2013 season that saw him lead the National League with 46 stolen bases.
2013 was also Young’s only season as a true everyday player, as he spent much of his career as a part-timer capable of providing speed off the bench and filling in at all three outfield positions, as well as second base early in his career. Given this track record, it is probably safe to assume that Young will also assume some responsibilities as a baserunning and/or outfield coach in D.C. Those roles were previously filled by Knorr and former third base coach Bob Henley.
The third base coaching job is the last vacancy remaining on the Nationals’ staff, with Young now in the fold to replace Knorr. The Nats already made a switch at hitting coach, hiring Darnell Coles after Kevin Long left to assume hitting coach duties with the Phillies.