Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not living up to the hype: Delmon Young continues to struggle

Baseball players go through hot and cold streaks. It’s only natural that over a 162-game season that players will experience ups and downs. However, fans are starting to become concerned that Delmon Young’s horrendous start in a Twins uniform is more than just an extended slump. I didn’t buy into all the hype surrounding Young when he was traded to the Twins. I agreed that the Twins were getting a young, toolsy player with a solid upside, but I saw no evidence to pencil him in for 25 homers this season and 30-plus longballs for the next five years like many others did.

Check out his minor league stats and his numbers with the Rays last season. As Young moved up to higher levels of competition, his power numbers dropped and his on-base percentage dipped. Not good signs. An inflated RBI total last season probably led many people to believe that Young possessed more power than he actually does, which makes his horrendous start even tougher for fans to handle.

That said, the kid still is in his early 20s. He will have plenty of opportunities to live up to his hype and find his power stroke once again. Meantime, it’d be nice if he would show us something besides a strong arm and decent speed. He looks completely lost at the plate, flailing at pitches out of the strike zone early in the count and having difficulty getting the ball out of the infield. Last night he nearly cost the Twins a game with a defensive blunder and lack of hustle on a ball hit down the line in the ninth inning. There's a difference between a slump and being terrible at baseball. Right now, Young is more the latter.

It’s time for Young to have a seat next to Ron Gardenhire for a game. Last night’s disaster in the ninth is the perfect reason for the Twins manager to bench the enigmatic outfielder for a game and hopefully get his first season as a Twin back on track.

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