June 24, 2024

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - SEPTEMBER 26: Jacob Young #30 of the Washington Nationals catches a ball during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on September 26, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)

Jacob Young didn’t anticipate his streak ending like this. If he was going to get thrown out trying to steal a base, he preferred it to be due to being caught, not by sliding past the bag. “You’d rather get caught by a mile than have something like that happen,” chuckled the Nationals rookie. “But I knew it was going to end at some point. We were able to impact a lot of games during the streak. We’ll just keep pushing and start a new one.”

Nationals' Jacob Young sets franchise history in win

Young had successfully stolen 25 bases in as many attempts since his late-season debut last year, marking the fifth-longest streak to begin a career in MLB history. When he attempted to steal second in the top of the ninth inning on Wednesday night, he expected to make it 26-for-26.

Despite initially beating the throw from Rangers catcher Jonah Heim, Young’s momentum carried him past the bag, causing him to come off it with the tag still applied. Umpire Alan Porter called him out, ending the streak.

Though he briefly discussed the play with Porter, Young quickly moved on, focusing on the next game and studying the opposing pitcher. However, he takes pride in his accomplishment. “It’s awesome,” he remarked. “It’s not something you think about when your career begins. But I won’t stop running. Just keep pushing. It’s cool to have in the bank, but it’s motivation to keep going.”

Young acknowledges that success in stealing bases at the MLB level requires preparation. He studies pitchers’ moves and pitch counts with first base coach Gerardo Parra before games. Batting mostly ninth, Young provides a significant offensive threat for the Nationals, frequently putting himself in scoring position for leadoff hitter CJ Abrams.

Manager Davey Martinez commends Young’s mindset and preparation, noting his intuition and dedication to studying pitchers’ moves. Now 11-for-12 this season, Young aims to start a new streak by maintaining his strong on-base percentage and continuing to apply pressure on the defense. “My goal is to get on base and put pressure on the defense,” he said. “I’ve been pleased with how I’ve utilized bunting and putting the ball in play to find different ways to get on base.”

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