Delmon Young has been beat up a bit in the public sphere, both because he was a once-hyped prospect who has failed to live up to the hype both on and off of the field. SBNation.com recently ranked the Phillies signing of Young as the single worst move of the entire baseball offseason. (SIDEBAR: In an offseason where a major league general manager decided to give Ty Wigginton a two-year contract, it should be impossible to name any other move as the worst move of the offseason. Ty Wigginton is essentially Delmon Young except older, slower, heavier, and a worse defender with less power. At this point, the Phillies have essentially decided to pay a $750,000 deposit to reserve Young for however long it takes him to recover from microfracture surgery. If, at that point, he appears to be healthy and has not ballooned to 300 pounds or has not done anything to embarass the organization, then they activate him and pay him another $250,000 roster bonus. I'm OK with the Young signing, as long as it does not impact Domonic Brown).
Anyway, as I was saying, Young has taken his lumps this offseason. But the Tigers were recently in town, which gave the Detroit Free-Press' John Lowe a chance to catch up with Young, and Young had some interesting things to say about just how much his bum ankle hampered him during 2011 and 2012.
"A lot, because I had no right leg, really," Young said. "I had bone spurs and the microfracture. It hurt a lot, but I just kept playing and playing and playing."
Young said he did this because he was on a team that had a chance to go to the World Series, which seems like a reasonable explanation to me.
So here's the question: What if Delmon Young's production dropped the last couple of seasons because his physical capabilities dropped? And what if the microfracture surgery ends up restoring those capabilities, and the Phillies end up getting a player who performs more like the one who was on the field for his first four-plus season in the majors?
Let's take a look. . .
Delmon Young, 2007-10 vs. 2011-12
Turns out, not a heck of a lot of difference between the two time periods. The drop in his numbers can pretty much be attributed to fewer singles finding holes (and who knows, maybe that can be attributed to fewer games on artificial turf after spending a year at Tropicana Field a few years in the MetroDome). Young did have what some thought could be a breakout season in 2010, when he hit .298/.333/.493 with 21 home runs and 112 RBI for the Twins. So the 2010-11 numbers look a lot worse when compared to that. He was only 24 years old in 2010, so maybe the ankle prevented him from building upon that 2010 season?
Who knows. Spend enough time chronicling reality and you start approaching all comeback tales with a healthy amount of skepticism. But I don't see much risk in taking a flier and hoping for the best.
The Phillies are in Fort Myers today, and Domonic Brown is in the lineup. . .batting third. Turns out, hitting 450 foot home runs will get you a nod from your manager.
Here's your lineup:
- Ben Revere CF
- Freddy Galvis SS
- Domonic Brown LF
- Ryan Howard 1B
- Carlos Ruiz C
- John Mayberry Jr. RF
- Kevin Frandsen 3B
- Yuniesky Betancourt 2B
- Pete Orr DH