Jared Young’s lifelong baseball dream is a step closer to reality.
The former Okanagan Athletics’ infielder was chosen by the Chicago Cubs in the 15th round—465th overall—in last week’s Major League Baseball draft.
Young, who played this season at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, is excited to get his pro career underway.
“It’s fantastic, honestly,” said Young. “To be drafted by an organization like the Cubs, the defending World Series champs, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
Young moved from his native Prince George to Kelowna in high school where he played two seasons with the A’s, before graduating from KSS and the B.C. Premier Baseball League in 2014.
After two seasons of junior college ball, split between North Dakota and Oklahoma, Young jumped to the NCAA Div. 1 level last fall at Old Dominion and made an immediate impact.
The 21-year-old Young led the ODU Monarchs in hitting this season with a .367 average and was named an All-American at second base.
The path Young’s baseball career has taken aligns precisely with what he hoped and trusted would happen.
“I always believed I had a chance (to play pro), I think I convinced myself of that pretty early and I was going to do whatever I had to,” said Young. “It’s pretty exciting to be getting it all started. I’m just going to take it as it comes and try make the most of it.”
Young’s success to date comes as no surprise to Okanagan Athletics head coach Evan Bailey. Between Young’s natural abilities, strength of character and passion for the game, Bailey believes he has all the tools to thrive at the professional level.
“The way I describe it is, Jared could wake up, get out of bed and be the best hitter out there,” said Bailey. “But one of the greatest things about him is that he’s a great person, too.
“The character qualities he has come into play in that he’s built for the grind of the minor leagues, he loves every day he’s out there, and he brings the long hours and hard work along with it,” added Bailey. “He’s a stand-up guy, very resilient and I believe he’ll take himself really far in the game.”
Young will leave Sunday for Mesa, Arizona where he’ll report to the Cubs. He’ll then transfer to Eugene, Oregon where he’ll play this summer for Chicago’s class A affiliate club.