OK, we’re here today to meet Delmon Young. Here you go:
Allrighty, we’re done here, thanks!
I’m kidding, of course. But Delmon is damn lucky that his career has blossomed in Tampa Bay, because otherwise, this would be the ONLY thing baseball fans would remember about him. As it is, he’ll be branded as “the bat-thrower” no matter what else he does in his career. Perhaps next time the Ump will hand Delmon a bottle of gatorade before he heaves him. Wait… that’s Elijah Dukes… these kids in Tampa are just a hot mess.
But I’m here neither to praise Delmon, nor to bury him, but to supply you with facts. Delmon Damarcus Young was born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1985, but eventually his family moved to California. The younger brother of Dmitri Young sprouted into a 6’3″ power-hitting outfielder who was drafted #1 overall out of high school in 2003. That made he and brother Dmitri the siblings with the highest combined draft position ever until, perversely, his record was broken by the brother of the #2 pick in the 2003 draft, his Devil Rays teammate B.J. Upton. He bats righty and throws righty, becoming the first player to ever do both during a single at-bat (see above).
Delmon played very, very well in the minors, amassing a .317 overall average during his teenage years. He was even able to log some time in the city of his birth, amassing an impressive OPS of .986 with 20 home runs and 71 RBIs in just half of a regular season with the Montgomery Biscuits. In 2005, he played for the storied Durham Bulls, where the, er, impromptu discussion of the strike zone happened. The resulting 50-game suspension did not dim the ardor of the big club, and the Rays called Delmon up on August 28th of 2006.
The hot-headed tyro paid immediate dividends, crushing a two-run dinger against the Chicago White Sox in his first major league game. Unlike his unkempt older brother, Delmon is an excellent fielder with a rocket-powered throwing arm and accuracy to boot. His speed and a growing appreciation for situational hitting may just make him the complete package.
Young is having a sterling 2007 season at the tender age of 21, standing out on a roster full of future stars (assuming they can stay away from the po-po). In 75 games this season, often batting 5th or 6th in the lineup, Delmon has 43 RBIs and 37 runs, with 15 doubles and 9 home runs. To the best of my knowledge, he has kept his temper under control, allowing teammate Elijah Dukes to hog all of the headlines for now.
Should he keep a firm grip on his emotions, and that darn slippery bat, Delmon Damarcus Young could continue to play a big part in bringing exciting offensive baseball to Tropicana Field. With B.J. Upton and Japanese import Akinori Iwamura on the field, the Rays are an intriguing unknown quantity with a great deal of potential. If the Tampa pitching can keep up with a minor-league system packed with hitting prospects, they just might have something down there in the old Juice Bowl.