Delman isn’t that Young anymore

By jason keen
Updated: February 13, 2009

It came as quite a surprise when Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced that his opening day starting outfield could consist of Michael Cuddyer in right field, Carlos Gomez in center field, and Denard Span in left field.

Surely, he must have forgotten about Delman Young. Surely he knows that professtional hitters are commonplace in the Young genes as older brother Dmitry has a career .292 average. Surely he knows that both right handed hitters, Cuddeyer and Gomez, both his below .250 this past year. Surely he did not forget that in 163 career games in right field, Young has 20 career assists. I could see Gardenhire forgetting some of Young’s diving catches as they appear in such high quantites, but not his American League leading 11 assists in left field this year.

Surely Gardenhire knows that Young hit .298 with runners on this past year while Cuddyer and Gomez hit .276 and .265. If Rodney Dangerfield was still alive, he might dedicate a “No Respect” portion of his next stand-up to Young, but since he’s not I will. Young may be the best 4th year million dollar player in the major leagues.

And, ESPN, please stop complaining about Bobby Abreau getting the short end of the stick this year on a “shafty” contract. He has made $91.25 million for his career, $16 million of it in 2008, which ranks as Venezuela’s second highest grossing export behind crude oil. He has a starting spot on a playoff contender, will make $8 million this year, and another few million in Pepsi advertisements in Argentina.

And, do not get me started on Adam Dunn, who complains he should be making Ryan Howard money. Sure Adam Dunn has hit the 40 home run mark in each of the last 5 years. But, he also averages over 175 strikeouts and has never hit higher than .265 with runners on base. Meanwhile, Howard has near a .300 average in the same situaitons.

Over these five 40hr years, Dunn has hit .235 in 2008, .257 in 2007, .217 in 2006, .244 in 2005, and .265 in 2004 with runners on base. Additionally, 56 percent (116 of 206) of his home runs were of the empty base persuasion. In Howard’s case over the same 5 years less than 46% of his home runs (81 of 177) were with the bases empty, with more than half of those (41) leading off an inning.

And while Delmon Young may never reach the 40 home run mark, let alone this upcoming year, he is a great $1.15 million player. What Young provides to the Minnesota Twins is a superior outfielder to a team who made the 3rd most errors in the American League last year. Defense wins championships, not Ron Gardenhire.

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