Remember Delmon Young?
A couple of years ago, early in the 2008 baseball season, I made a crack in the St. Petersburg Times that if the Minnesota Twins called and offered to trade Delmon Young back to the Rays for Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett, I would make that trade. Obviously, that would have been a bone-headed move. Bartlett turned out to be the team MVP during the Rays incredible World Series run and Garza was the American League Championship Series MVP. Meantime, Young did have a bad 2008 season, but his power numbers weren't there. He hit .290 with only 10 homers and 69 RBIs. In 2009, he hit .284 with 12 homers and 60 RBIs. But this season, Young is starting to produce like he was projected. He's batting .310 with eight homer and 45 RBIs. And now Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci lists Young as potentially being the next Robinson Cano -- a player who can become a superstar with just a little plate discipline. Here's what Verducci writes about Young:
Here is a guy who just might be ready to turn the corner -- and he's still only 24 years old. Scouts still rave about Young's crazy power as a high school player. The first overall pick of the 2003 draft regularly hit bombs to the opposite field, then destroyed minor league pitching (.881 OPS). But he's been a below-average major leaguer, posting a .738 OPS over 452 games entering this year while hacking at just about anything and everything remotely close to the plate.
Young still chases pitches outside of the strike zone far too often, but he is showing some of that old power this year (eight homers) while cutting down on his strikeouts (24) and mixing in a few more walks (14). Those are all good signs that his career hasn't stalled and he may be taking a step forward. But until Young develops at least a clue of the strike zone, it's hard to imagine that he's going to be an impact player like Cano.
I don't think I would be willing to trade Garza and Bartlett for Young, but the former Rays draft pick might turn out to be a major-league star yet.