Jesse's Late Entry to Delmon Young Day

Time gets away from you.  What can I say?

It's always easy to cast aside the pre-season static that you get every year, and it wasn't difficult to do the same to Delmon Young this spring.  He'd dropped 30 pounds, which is astonishing and certainly a testament to his dedication, but that didn't mean he was going to turn into a different ballplayer.  And he really hasn't.  Every plate appearance for Young still sees me basically going through the five stages of grief, and every once in a while I still end up on the floor in tears.

But this season, in spite of still being the free spirit at the dish that he's always been, the results have changed.  Maybe those lost 30 pounds (I'm still surprised to see this svelt guy stepping into the box whenever it's his turn to bat) have made it easier for him to stay mechanically sound, or maybe he's just starting to recognize his pitches a bit better, but whatever the case may be he's skewing his career numbers.  I'm not just talking about his .815 OPS, either.

Split

BB %

K %

ISO

BABIP

w/OBA

O-Swing %

Contact %

1st Strike %

Swinging
Strike %

2010

7.7

10.6

.191

.289

.354

35.9

82.0

59.6

9.4

Career

4.2

19.5

.129

.337

.321

40.1

75.5

65.1

14.7

 

 

 

 

 

A lot of this represents a drastic improvement over where Delmon has been throughout his career.  He's made significant strides in walk rates, strikeout rates have nearly been cut in half and his isolated power is much closer to where you expect it to be.  He's still swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone far too often, but it's still an improvement.

The two categories most telling to me are contact rates and swinging strikes.  It's representative of what we've seen through the first six weeks or so of the season:  Young is putting the bat on the ball.  He's still lacking in strike zone discipline, but he's been able to take better swings and make contact as a result.  It's resulted in fewer strikeouts, and in spite of a much lower batting average on balls in play is making his hits count.

It's still too early to say that Delmon has "finally" turned it all around at the ripe old age of 24, but there are a lot of positive signs here.  Hopefully he can keep it up, because if he can he'll be a great hitter to have in the bottom third of the order.

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