Young Takes the Reins in West Michigan

First-year West Michigan Whitecaps manager Ernie Young knows a thing or two about baseball.

After being drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 1990 Major League Baseball draft, Young spent the next eighteen seasons with the A's, Kansas City Royals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and Japan's Yokohama BayStars. He hit over three-hundred home runs while playing in the minor leagues, an impressive feat even if at the minor league level.

Furthermore, Young won gold in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia as a member of USA baseball. He also managed a talented Team USA in last year's Pan Am Qualifying Tournament. He's been a hitting coach, and a manager in the Chicago White Sox organization.

All of these things were probably considered when the Detroit Tigers named Young the new manager of the Whitecaps, after former manager Joe DePastino was transferred to a new job as a roving catching coordinator for the organization.

Young's impact within the clubhouse has already been noticed by people around the organization, as many are saying that his managerial style is significantly more intense than that of DePastino's.

Not surprisingly, Young agrees with this.

"Every manager's going to be different. I've played for different managers," he said. "I'm more of an intense type of manager, and I expect my players to have the same type of intensity on the field and off of the field. So if I bring anything different to the table than Joe, I would have to say that it would be my level of intensity."

His intensity may be one of the reasons that so many have their eye on Young as a hot managerial prospect. In past interviews, Young has made known his desire to manage at the major league-level, and at the rate he's going, it wouldn't be too surprising to see him get there.

With that being said, Young also notes that, regardless of what people think of his ability, it does not put any undue pressure on him or his team.

"I don't think it puts any pressure on me," Young said. "I just think that, in this game, you've got a lot to learn, and I don't think it matters if I'm a highly-touted managerial prospect or not. I still have to go out there and try to develop players into major league players."

One of Young's biggest developmental challenges comes in the form of last year's first round pick, third-baseman Nick Castellanos. However, Young has a bit of a different take on it.

"It's like coaching anyone else," he said. "I'm going to give everything I have to coaching Nick, just like I'm going to give everything I have to coaching Dixon Machado or Hernan Perez. It doesn't matter."

"I'm going to go out there and give each guy everything I have to make them better each day," Young continued. "I want to get them to the major leagues—not to Lakeland, Erie or Toledo. I'm trying to get these guys prepared to one day play in the major leagues."

He's got a good chance to do that with a lot of his players, as a fair amount of players on West Michigan's roster are already some of the top prospects in the organization.

Like most managers in a minor league role, Young understands that, while winning is obviously important, his core role is to develop the young men he is putting on the field.

"I want to see this team become better on September 7 than they were on April 7," he said. "That's all that I care about. If they get better from day one, all the way to day 141, then I've done my job."

"I don't put goals on how many games we're going to win, or anything like that," Young continued. "All that I care about is my players going out there and playing hard and giving everything that they can out on the field. Eventually that will translate into wins if they go out there and do the necessary things to get better."

While Young does not know what his future with the organization will hold, he already knows that this is the place he wants to be for some time to come.

"Detroit's a great organization. The same is true in West Michigan," Young said. "This organization has been rich in a winning tradition throughout the years and the product that we've put in place on the field this year should give us a great opportunity to add to that winning tradition."


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