Once Extended Spring Training started, I was going to have a new room mate after rooming with Brad Tippett for the first 4 weeks. After rooming with Brad, who is a 6 year veteran in Minor League Baseball, I would be rooming with Jacob Younis, a 17yr old who was starting his 1st year in Pro Ball.
Jacob signed prior to the 2010 MLB Academy, something that remained a tight secret, as he signed his contract the day he had to fly out to the Gold Coast for the Academy.
I first saw Jacob play at the U/14 National Championships in 2007. There's always one stand out player at these tournaments, and he was easily the standout. At 13yrs old he was hitting balls to the warning track in left/center at Blacktown Olympic Park, which is something I still can't do today.
I actually pitched against Jacob the following year in the U/18 New South Wales Major League Grand Final, where he hit me for a double in the 8th inning, considering he was only 14, playing on that stage against some players 4 years older then him, he didn't look out of place at all and was very comfortable playing at a higher level. In recent times, he hasn't had much success against me, which I jokingly like to remind him about every once in a while.
Two days ago Jacob made his pro debut starting at 3rd base against the Tampa Bay Rays, which is a position not familiar to him. He went 1 for 2 with a single, with a perfectly executed hit and run, he also stole a base and scored a run. A pretty productive first game. He's still only 17, playing against some guys 4-5 years older then him, and he still doesn't look out of place at all. I was ball boy for the game, so I was lucky enough to be able to get the ball from his first hit for him as little souvenir.
I've gotten to know him well over the last two years, and he's a really good kid, with tremendous talent and potential, and he has a genuine passion for the game, and hopefully that will take him far in his career.