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Chavez Young Excited For Future Of Bahamian Baseball



Chavez Young sees the quality of baseball changing in his native Bahamas, with better structure than when he played back in Freeport growing up.

"It wasn’t organized—I played to have fun and played hard to win and the goal was to just play,” Young said. "Like, you're stealing when you are up by 10, bunting when you're down 20, stuff like that. We'd barely stretch, we'd have a two-minute little stretch and then throw and start the game."

These days, when Young, a 21-year-old outfield prospect whose stock is rising in the Blue Jays' system, hears about the state of the game back home, things are a lot different. The organization is better. The quality is up. And now, there’s a realistic path into professional baseball for the most talented players.

"The kids are engaged more and they're working hard,” Young said. "They see that, 'Hey, you know, Chavez Young is there with the Blue Jays, you got Lucius Fox with the Rays, you got Jazz Chisholm with the Diamondbacks,' and they feel like they can do it. That's what it's all about, giving hope to them that if I can do it, you can do it, you feel me?”

Young was certainly feeling it last year with low Class A Lansing, where he hit .285/.363/.445 with 33 doubles, eight home runs and 44 stolen bases in 57 attempts. This season, he’ll open up at high Class Dunedin, continuing a remarkable streak of progress since he left home at 15 years old in pursuit of his baseball dream.

A 39th-round pick in 2016 who signed for $200,000, Young is now immersed in pro ball. He's learned how to better "think the game and pay attention more." Working out with fellow Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette and Bo's father, Dante Bichette, after the 2017 season further helped advance his game.

"The environment, the mindset—what's your plan, your approach each and every day? Going into the cage—what's your purpose? That helped me a lot going into 2018,” Young said. "I tried to take it on the field, my approach to everything.”

NOTES:

— The Blue Jays are increasing the salaries of their minor league players by 50 percent at each level this season. "We’re serious about giving our players the best possible resources,” said Blue Jays vice president of baseball operations Ben Cherington.

— Catcher Max Pentecost, the 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft, left minor league camp to consider his future, with retirement a possibility.

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