Minnesota Twins: The Delmon Young Trade Looks Terrible Now
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The Twins received a couple of pitchers with a combined 19 total games of major league experience. The upside might be that at 22 and 23 years old, Nelson and Oliveros have plenty of time to develop into major league pitchers. However, the full effect of this trade will not be evident for a few years.
The problem with this trade is the Twins gave away the one outfielder that could provide some power and lead the team in RBI. They could have retained him in 2012 for less than they may end up paying for free agents Micheal Cuddyer and Jason Kubel.
At the time of the trade the Twins were 10.5 games behind the Tigers, and Delmon Young was in the midst of the worst season of his career. In 2010, he hit .298 with a career high 21 home runs and 112 RBI. This season, in 84 games for the Twins, Young hit .266 with four home runs and 32 RBI.
After being traded to Detroit, Young's batting average increased to .274 in 40 games, with eight home runs and 32 RBI. He went from batting typically eighth in the Minnesota lineup with light hitting Drew Butera batting behind him, to third in the Detroit lineup in front of the American League's best hitter, Miguel Cabrera.
During the playoffs, Young has been one of the biggest bats in the Detroit lineup. Against the Yankees he hit .316 with three home runs. With another two home runs against the Texas Rangers in Game 5 of the ALCS, his five playoff home runs are tied for the most in the postseason so far.
The problem was Young was not the kind of player the Twins groom through their minor leagues. He's an impatient and undisciplined hitter that walks too seldom and strikes out too much. His approach is to swing hard and hit home runs instead of being a contact hitter and hitting the ball to the opposite field—all of the things that the Twins coaches preach.
The biggest difference may be that the approach the Tigers have taken with Young has enabled them to do something the Twins could not—defeat the New York Yankees in the playoffs.
Don't fret, all's not lost, there's still time for the Twins to take Cole's 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings through two seasons in the minors and turn him into a pitcher that pitches to contact, making the trade look even worse as Young flourishes in a Detroit lineup with sluggers Cabrera and Victor Martinez.
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