Sunday, May 16, 2010

Delmon Young Day.... days late

Delmon Young day came and went! I did nothing! Sure, I've had alot going on and alot of stressers in my life, but as a wanna-be Twins writer/blogger guy, it is my job to make sure i weigh in on every opportunity. So, a few days late here we go.

Delmon Young was the #1 pick in the 2003 amateur draft. Generally considered one of the best prospects in the minor leagues in 2004-2006. He was runner up to rookie of the year in 2007 for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He had a decent if unremarkable rookie campaign in his age 21 year. He hit .288/.316/.408 but it was the 93 runs batted in that probably went the furthest in garnering him the runner-up vote for the ROY.

In the winter of 2007, Delmon, Brendan Harris, and Jason Pridie were sent to Minnesota in exchange for Matt Garza, Jason Bartlett, and Eduardo Morlan. This trade had all the makings of teams trading off of strength. Tampa had an excess of young OFs and Minnesota an excess of young starting pitching. I was all for the trade at the time, it seemed like a reasonable gamble for a mid-market team looking to compete long term. It hasn't worked out....... YET?

Young was sold to the Twins fans as the next Frank Robinson. Frank went .290/.379/.558 and .322/.376/.529 in his age 20 and 21 year. Young has certainly not attained that success yet.

Garza became a star pitcher. the 2008 ALCS MVP went 11-9 with a 3.70 ERA in 2008 and 8-12 with a 3.95 ERA in 2009. He had a 6.4 WAR in the 2 seasons. He is off to a 5-1 start with a 2.49 ERA this season and considered one of the better pitchers in the AL.

The real surprise has been Bartlett. He batted .289/.326/.389 in 08 and .320/.389/.490 in 2009. He had a 6.7 WAR in the 2 seasons. By contrast Young has gone .290/.336/.405 and .284/.308/.425 the last 2 seasons along with terrible defense providing a WAR of -1.8. And Brendan Harris? Bartlett's replacement has gone .265/.327/.394 and .261/.310/.362 along terrible defense, his 1.3 WAR over the last 2 seasons is still better than Young. Young has been the worst of these four players when he was supposed to be the star!

Coming into 2010, Where does Young go from here?

Young is still only 24. He may be figuring it out a little more at the plate. Always a slow starter, Young is hitting .278/.333/.464 in the early going. His defense in left has gone from horrible to merely slightly below average. By contrast his most common comparable, Michael Cuddyer is hitting .270/.316/.433 while playing awful defense in right field to the tune of a UZR/150 of -28.3.

So, the question has to asked, has Young turned the corner? Is he ready to be a decent player for the team, if not a cornerstone? A mid-market team like the Twins with such a high payroll could look to shed Cuddyer's 11.5 million in 2011. (assuming a team will take it) Is Young ready to replace him in RF and as the primary power righty on the team? His defense in 2007 in right field was pretty decent. Will Gardenhire even play him there. Will Ben Revere be ready enough to come up in 2011, improving the team's outfield defense?

If Young had gotten to a slow start he's probably be on the brink of being let go in favor of a Rene Tosoni or at least buried deep on the bench.

What I can say for certain is that Delomn will not be another Frank Robinson. Frank by the way went .297/.407/.595 in his age 24 year. the following year he won the NL MVP.

Young has a long way to go, but i predict that he will round into a fair bat and a decent RF option assuming Cuddyer is elsewhere in a year or two.

what say you?

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