The “Guy” is an important character in the world of major league baseball. The term may have been coined by esteemed thinker and current roadie Eric Ripps and refers to those dudes who round out the ranks of highest level of professional baseball.
They generally play for 10 or more seasons, hit 25-30 home runs in a season once or twice, play in an All-Star Game or two, spend a stint or two with the Orioles, Royals or Rangers, land one sweet free agent payout around the age of 33 and then peter out into oblivion, finishing their careers with adjusted OPS+ around 100.
Recent examples of "Guys" include Mark DeRosa, David Dellucci, Preston Wilson, Xavier Nady, Eric Byrnes and Jeffrey Hammonds. For reference’s sake, Jermaine Dye is one notch above a Guy while Reed Johnson falls just short.
Below is a list of young or youngish players who are in excellent position to replace the current DeRosas and Marcus Thameses and become MLB’s next class of "Guys":
Wily Mo Pena
A running theme amongst these players is they were once highly regarded prospects who refuse, for one reason or another, to become the star players their teams initially hoped they would develop into during their first several seasons in the majors leagues.
Of course, hoping that any player will be a Cal Ripken or Justin Upton and dominate the league right out of the gate is a great way to cultivate disappointment, as there are 125 Marty Cordovas for every Albert Pujols. Most of the younger players on this list have been traded at least once, while the older dudes have generally spent much of their early-to-mid 20’s performing at a high level in the minor leagues.
Delmon Young is an interesting case, as the 2003 No. 1 pick broke into the majors with a solid 2006 season at age 20, prompting Baseball-Reference to list Tris Speaker’s age-21 performance as a top comparable for Young’s 2007 campaign—before his disappointing 2007 resulted in a top comp of Rocco Baldelli for the following year.
Young was then traded to the Twins, where his adjusted OPS+ of 102 indicated that he was roughly a league-average hitter as a 22-year old in 2008. While his lackluster walk rate and power numbers lead me to believe that he will never be the star Peter Gammons and others predicted he would ultimately become, Young is still very, uh, young , and I’m fairly confident that he will at least eclipse “Guys” like Dellucci, Wilson and his diabetic piece of shit of a brother.
Young also has yet to achieve enough to merit writing about without mentioning that time he throw his bat at a minor league umpire, so here it is.
*This is a disappointing one. Jackson’s .423 career minor league OBP resulted in one of the most heartfelt mancrushes I’ve ever harbored. However, as a 27-year old with an adjusted OPS+ of 101 through nearly 2,000 plate appearences, CoJack’s ceiling at this point has become Glenallen Hill.