Nationals center fielder Young doesn’t just get good jumps. He gets great ones. His average distance covered in the first 1.5 seconds after a fly ball is hit is 4 feet more than the average outfielder. There are only three other outfielders whose average distance is 2 feet above average, none greater than 2.2.

Young’s jumps are what have put him in position to be one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball this season. Even though Young may not rate as well when it comes to his route running as he does his jumps, he’s so good in the latter that he co-leads the majors in Runs Saved at his position, making many catches that others don’t.

Young talked on our baseball podcast about the work that goes getting great jumps, which involves a cone drill implemented in spring training by outfield instructor Coco Crisp

“You’re working on taking a step one way and being able to course correct back to that original spot. It gives you the freedom to try to get a great jump and course correct back to center and give yourself time to readjust. Gerardo Parra is our outfield coach. If you ask him what he cares about, he says ‘The only thing I care about is your first step.’ The best time to work on it is batting practice. You just try to make it natural and be as ‘on time’ as you can be.”

To hear the rest of Young’s interview, check out the latest episode of The SIS Baseball Podcast.