Fire Gardy

Mismanaging games since 2002

Delmon Young Rumblings

It’s time to continue grumbling about Delmon Young. He played all 162 games last year, and has played every game so far this year. That’s admirable … but at the same time, he’s not producing. Despite getting two hits last night, he came up short in perhaps his most important at bat — bases loaded, nobody out. An RBI Fielder’s Choice is not what we want out of our prized young slugger in that situation.

But is the Young Delmon in danger of riding the pine?

“He told me the other day, he doesn’t like to miss an inning,” Gardenhire said. “And I told him to get some hits, and he won’t.”
It sure sounds like Gardy’s noticed that Delmon isn’t living up to his hyped hitting ability. He has only 4 XBH so far this season (including 0 HR), for a IsoP of just .036 — which is shockingly Tyner-esque. (Last year, Tyner’s IsoP was .069.)

So while Gardy wants him to “get some hits,” I don’t think that’s the message that needs to be sent. Delmon answered by getting some singles, and raising his average to .271 … but the real problem is that he needs to put a charge into the ball. Delmon needs to be crushing line drives and putting the ball over the fence.

Would benching be a viable option? Would it do what we want, and light a fire under his ass? Would it have the same effect it had on Gomez? Or would it anger Delmon, starting a player-manager fight in the same vein as Young v. Maddon a year ago?

It’s impossible to say. But something needs to change, and I’m an advocate of sitting him down and telling him that if you want to be in the lineup, you have to produce. Just take it easy for a day, and when you come back start swinging harder — we don’t need our young players taking bat-speed lessons from Mauer (while ignoring the strike zone lessons, apparently).


6 Comments so far

  1. FunBobby May 13th, 2008 2:37 pm

    With Craig Monroe emerging as an actual hitter, I would like to see him get some ABs, but I also don’t want Kubel to lose out. Why not let Delmon rest his ankle, which i guess he rolled last night, and play Monroe in the OF and Kubel at DH.

  2. sirsean May 13th, 2008 3:03 pm

    Delmon rounded second on a fly ball to left center — it wasn’t a very head’s up play — and rolled his ankle when trying to stop and go back. He fell awkwardly and held his ankle until the infielders tagged him out.

    I know he doesn’t like to miss an inning — and he only missed half an inning with this injury — but this is probably the perfect time to sit him down.

    Although he pointed out that his batting average at this point of last season was only .220 … and that he’s a slow starter because he needs to get his timing down. Maybe it’s not a benching he needs, it’s just more batting practice. I understand the Twins eschew that in favor of infield drills. Like my T-ball team.

  3. UncleBumpa May 14th, 2008 10:14 am

    Rather than compare Young to Tyner, how about comparing him to a young Torii Hunter? Torii was Kirby’s backup, and he was a poor hitter. He taught himself some discipline, he listened (probably to Puck, not the hitting coach), and he developed into a respectable CF.
    Young may be able to do the same if he has the ability to select a good mentor.

  4. sirsean May 14th, 2008 10:50 am

    Most people in the media seem to agree with the Young-Hunter comparisons.

    Torii didn’t become much of a hitter until 2001 (and I doubt Kirby had anything to do with it, honestly, and Torii was never Kirby’s backup, as he made his major league debut in 1997 — not to become a regular until 1999 — whereas Kirby retired in 1996 and never became a coach due to being blind).

    At age 23, Torii had an IsoP of .125. At 24, it was .128. At 25, in 2001, when he finally turned the corner, it was .218.

    Those numbers are respectable for a CF, especially one with Gold Glove defensive talent. For a corner outfielder, you’d like that to be the low end.

    Delmon’s current .035 IsoP is the lowest of any player in the majors with enough at bats to qualify for the batting title.

    And hopefully, Delmon’s ceiling is higher than Torii’s.

  5. FunBobby May 14th, 2008 11:28 am

    I am beginning to think Young will not break out until at least next season. His approach is clearly not working, and there is no sing that anyone is willing to change it. Craig Monroe is really the only veteran hitter we have. For some reason I can’t see Delmon taking advice from Morneau, Mauer or Cuddyer. Even though he probably should. It sounded like he was working a lot with Oliva and others during spring training, but that work has yet to show.

  6. sirsean May 14th, 2008 12:05 pm

    Vavra continues to say that Young is listening well and seems to be soaking up everything they work on together. (Of course, given that Vavra’s a “Twins Hitting Coach,” that might be a bad thing.)

    In all likelihood, Delmon will break out as soon as we give up on him.

    (Aside: I blame myself for Kubel’s recent slump. He was coming on, so I picked him up for my fantasy teams. Immediately, he went cold. I hung on, keeping my hopes high. This weekend, I traded him away for Nick Swisher — who I’ve subsequently released — and the first game action Kubel gets since involves a pinch hit home run. I’ll take credit for that. Thank you Kubel.)

    Delmon says he starts slow. I wish that weren’t the case, but it happens for a lot of guys. He just has to start swinging the bat better. And we’ll see when that happens.

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