Delmon Young: An Argument for Patience

Jeremiah Graves@cheapseatchronAnalyst IJuly 6, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 11: Delmon Young #21 of the Minnesota Twins bats against the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on June 11, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Buy low and sell high.

This may be the oldest cliché when it comes to investments, but it's also one of the most accurate.

The Minnesota Twins missed that memo when they bought high by trading for Delmon Young following the 2007 season.

Young was the runner-up to Dustin Pedroia in the American League Rookie of the Year voting after hitting .288 with 13 homers and 93 runs batted in.

His attitude, however, didn’t fit with the “future vision” of the rechristened Rays and they looked to swap the youngster. With Torii Hunter departing for Los Angeles, the Twins were looking to improve their suddenly depleted outfield and Young seemed to be the answer.

General Manager Bill Smith traded away a future ace in Matt Garza, a defensive whiz and solid hitting shortstop in Jason Bartlett, and minor league hurler Eduardo Morlan for a package that included outfielders Young and Jason Pridie, and utility infielder Brendan Harris.

A season and a half removed from that trade, it seems apparent that the Twins are the clear-cut losers of that deal.

Bartlett was voted the Rays MVP last season and Garza was the ALCS MVP as both helped push the Rays into the World Series.

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Young, however, had a season that most viewed as a disappointment.  Despite improving his BB/K ratio, scoring more runs, stealing more bases, upping his batting average, on-base percentage, and OPS from the previous season, he was still labled a bust.

As a result, the Twins have been rumored to be shopping Delmon Young since last season. In fact, late last season there was a very high probability that the Twins were going to swap Young for Seattle Mariners left-handed starter Jarrod Washburn.

Talk about selling low.

Although many Twins fans are still calling for management to move Young for immediate lineup reinforcements, I am making one final argument to keep him; both in Minnesota and in the starting lineup.

First and foremost, Young has been forced to deal with a lot of issues this season both on and off the field that have effected his performance.

He spent the majority of the off-season and spring training being viewed as the odd man out in the Twins outfield. At one point during the off-season, manager Ron Gardenhire made a statement that his preferred outfield would not include Young.

There are few things worse than publicly dissing a young player and Gardenhire did just that. He would later retract his statement, but the damage to Young’s psyche was already done.

Young tried to put the comments behind him this spring and raked through most of Spring Training, seemingly earning his way back into the starting lineup. It was then that more off-field issues took over.

Young’s mother passed away in May following a lengthy battle with cancer. His performance suffered greatly both at the plate and in the field as it appeared he’d lost his focus.  This of course is to be expected for anyone in that predicament, let alone a 23-year old.

Secondly, much like teammate Francisco Liriano, Young is a drastically better player in the season’s second-half than he is prior to the All-Star break.

A quick glance at his splits shows the glaring difference. Prior to the All-Star break his primary numbers run .278/.313/.388 and after the break they bump up to a much more impressive .302/.334/.427.

Additionally, one of Young’s biggest weaknesses—power—improves dramatically once the All-Star festivities are in the rear view mirror. In 866 career first-half at-bats, Young has 15 home runs compared to 14 home runs in only 662 career at-bats in the second-half.

Finally, my last argument for keeping Young in Minnesota and in the lineup is his recent success.

Over his last ten games, Young has hit .333 with two home runs, four doubles, seven runs batted in and six runs scored. His OPS had jumped an outstanding 100 points since the beginning of June.

Things are on the upswing for Young and it would be in the Twins best interest to give the 23-year old at least the rest of the year to try and make good on their initial investment.

To trade Young away now would be selling low and that is not something the Twins can afford to do this or any season.


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