Delmon Young: Arrested, Still a Bad Baseball Player
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Update: In addition to assault, Young is being charged with a hate crime for making anti-Semitic remarks. "It was unclear what triggered the incident at the Hilton New York at about 2:30 a.m., though it began with a group of four men and a panhandler wearing a yarmulke." It sounds like the beginning of a bad bar joke, but somehow it ended with Young in handcuffs.
Tigers outfielder Delmon Young was arrested after assaulting a man in New York City early Friday morning, according to the New York Post. Details are still a bit sketchy, but the report states that Young was "highly intoxicated" and pushed a man to the ground, causing scratches.
Young was reportedly so intoxicated that he had to go to the hospital to sober up before being moved to the jail.
As Hardball Talk’s Aaron Gleeman reminds us, Young has always been a great guy. The arrest comes on the six-year anniversary of Young’s suspension for throwing his bat at an umpire in a Triple-A game.
Lost in all of this is that not only is Young a superb citizen, he’s a very poor baseball player. At .242/.311/.333 this year, he’s not the only hitter, not even the only corner hitter, off to a slow start, but he’s one of those who can be expected not to heat up to the point of really contributing.
A career .287/.321/.426 hitter at 26 years old, he’s had just one superlative season in his career—2010’s .298/.333/.493 season for the Twins.
But wait! Young is also a frightening outfielder with terrible instincts. He’s not built like Greg Luzinski or Pat Burrell, but he plays the outfield like them, taking routes that would make a foraging ant dizzy with incomprehension. Watching Young misjudge a fly is one of the great guilty pleasures of sports.
As we discussed in yesterday’s Carl Crawford post, there aren’t a great many impact outfielders available, and in any case, the Tigers are already on the hook for a lot of money this year. The Tigers’ system is not deep in ready outfielders, but coincidentally, they called up veteran minor league slugger Brad Eldred, 31, yesterday when they released Brandon Inge.
A career .260/.327/.537 hitter at Triple-A, Eldred was off to a .388/.444/1.013 start at Toledo, with 13 home runs in 80 at-bats (!).
Eldred is utterly unable to judge the strike zone, which is why his major league auditions have always ended in failure (.204/.259/.419 in 85 games). Still, a scenario in which Eldred contributes something as a DH while the current DH, Andy Dirks, slides over to left field.
Should the Tigers release Delmon Young?
It doesn’t sound great, but it reduces or eliminates Young’s role and probably isn’t that far off from what he would have contributed. It's more likely the right-handed Eldred will platoon with Dirks in some way, but there are other possibilities.
It’s one thing to have potential, another to be thought to have potential at 26 and yet another to wait around for that potential to manifest in actual results while the player in question acts like an idiot.
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