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Young's Dominican baseball opportunity puts P.G. trip on hold

Former Prince George Knight slugger now playing winter ball in Caribbean

Jared Young’s home-for-Christmas plans have been cancelled.

Instead of hunkering down with his family and friends in chilly Prince George for 18 days in December, the 26-year-old Chicago Cubs prospect has accepted an offer to head to the tropics to play winter professional baseball in the Dominican League.

Young was in the Tigres del Licey lineup Wednesday in Santo Domingo for their game against the Gigantes del Cibae. He flew to the Dominican on Saturday from his home in Arizona and was slotted in for Wednesday’s game at first base, helping the Tigres to a 5-2 win - their fourth straight.

The Tigres (14-14, third place) face the first-place Estellas Orientales today in San Pedro de Marcoris, then finish off the week Friday with a road game in Santiago against Aguillas Cibaenas. The regular season for the six-team league wraps up Dec. 17 and playoffs begin Dec. 19.

Eight infielders, including Young, as well as 14 pitchers, three catchers, and six outfielders on the Tigres roster are affiliated with major league teams. The Tigres manager is Jose Offerman, a two-time all-star shortstop who played 15 years in the majors for the Dodgers Royals, Kansas City, Red Sox, Mariners, Twins, Phillies and Mets.

The Dominican Republic is known for producing more Major League Baseball players per capita than any other country. According to Baseball Almanac, 170 players born in the Dominican played on major league teams in 2021, as compared to 1,089 born in the Unites States, 102 from Venezuela and 14 from Canada.

Young finished his fourth professional season in September, playing for the Cubs triple-A affiliate in Iowa, after getting called up from the double-A Tennessee Smokies on Aug. 9. In 72 games combined with both teams, Young hit .290 with 41 hits in 255 at-bats, including 15 doubles, two triples and nine home runs. He batted in 40 runs and drew 28 walks.

Young was drafted by the Cubs in the 15th round of 2017 out of Old Dominion University in Virginia. He began his pro career playing rookie ball with the Eugene Emeralds, moved up the single-A South Bend Cubs and advanced-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans in 2018, before making the jump to the double-A Tennessee.

Tigres del Licey was founded in 1907 and is one of the original teams in the Domincan League, which became a professional league in 1951. Since then, the Tigres have won a league-best 22 championships. The Dominican League champion competes annually in the Caribbean Series, the highest level of play for the Latin American professional baseball. The Tigres hold the record with 10 Caribbean Series titles.

The 2021 Caribbean Series, Jan. 31-Feb. 5 in Mazatlan, Mexico included league champions from Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Cuba was unable to attend due to visa issues.