Acquisitions

Pulling the Plug On Delmon Young

The Phillies’ signing of Delmon Young was met with mostly negative reviews. It wasn’t the money as much as the notion that the front office and manager considered Young a legitimate everyday starter. Young wasn’t signed to play in a platoon. He was brought here to provide right-handed power behind Ryan Howard. The problem is that he has never really been all that powerful, and whatever power he does possess is canceled out by abysmal fielding and below average baserunning. From an overall value standpoint, Young has little to none, as is evidenced by his career -1.1 WAR.

He wasn’t even an upgrade over players already rostered, either — his numbers have been bested by John Mayberry over the last few seasons. Mayberry isn’t just an upgrade in the field and on the bases either. He has better numbers at the plate too.

Save for the 2010 season, when Young hit a career-high 21 homers and tallied 1.6 WAR — still below what’s considered the league-average threshold — he has been either replacement level or below every year. Here are his WAR totals since 2007: 0.0, -0.8, -1.1, 1.6, 0.0, -0.9, and he is currently at -0.8.

Approaching the midpoint of the season it is time for the Phillies to cut ties with Young as an everyday player. If the team wants to use him against lefties in a platoon role, or as a designated hitter in a road interleague series, fine, but he should not be viewed any more favorably than Mayberry, Laynce Nix or Kevin Frandsen. And while I know some are tired of hearing Nate Schierholtz‘s name around these parts, Young is also vastly worse than the player the Phillies simply non-tendered; the player who makes slightly more than Young this season and currently leads the Cubs in WAR.

It’s time to either get rid of Young or permanently relegate him to part-time duty. The Phillies have too many holes in this lineup to consistently allocate playing time to a player whose perception far outweighs his contributions.

The major issue with signing Young is that it’s symptomatic of the issues plaguing this front office, which seems to value areas that don’t translate to production. We’re well past the days where value was determined primarily by offense, and we’re past the days when offensive value was determined by batting average or home runs.

Since 2009, Young’s -39 fielding rating is better only than an Alfonseca-handful of players. His baserunning ratings rank near the bottom of the leaderboard as well.

His walk-rate is the fifth-lowest among qualified players and his isolated power is barely higher than Jimmy Rollins‘. Young is a downgrade from Jeff Francoeur, which is a pretty difficult feat to accomplish, yet this Phillies front office thought of him as an everyday outfielder on a contending team.

This isn’t a good move that simply didn’t work out. The writing was on the wall from the moment he signed with the Phillies. That many analysts predicted the Phillies and Young would get together speaks volumes to this regime’s poor player valuation.

Signing Young maybe makes sense if the team thinks of itself as .500ish and is willing to take a $1 million flier in the hopes of helping him turn his career around. It makes absolutely no sense if better players are already on the roster and the team thinks itself close to contention.

Confounding the matter is the odd perception that he is some power maven. He has played over 150 games in four of his six full seasons between 2007 and 2012, and has topped 20 home runs just once. Sure, he had a great playoff series last year, but fans in favor of this move were likely conflating his power output with that of Josh Willingham. Young’s career Isolated Power is .142. Mayberry’s is .193.

Some have speculated that the Phillies may be giving Young playing time as a showcase for a trade. The problem is that the Phillies are one of very few teams left that still view him as a major-league asset. It’s time to move on from this experiment and permanently give the starting right field gig to someone else. It isn’t too costly of a mistake, but it’s still a mistake that should not be allowed to fester during the second half.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Steve Jeltz

    June 19, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Thank you, Jesus. Someone else sees the light. We’d be better off carrying me as a 25th player and using KK and CFL as pinch runners every day that watching Delmon Young drop balls in right field for the rest of the season.

  2. Mike in NJ

    June 19, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Amen. Can’t happen soon enough.

  3. pamikedc

    June 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Ruf can do what DY does

  4. J

    June 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    No more fat and slow players.

  5. Manny

    June 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Why do I feel like they’re not gonna do this anytime soon?

    Oh, nevermind. Forgot RAJ was our GM for a split-second.

  6. El Capitán

    June 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Couldn’t agree more. Delmon Young is so bad, it’s hard to watch.

  7. Brooks

    June 19, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    I agree Eric – get rid of the Demon.

  8. Brooks

    June 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    How about this for a 3/4 combination today – 10 ab, 4 runs, 5 hits and 8 rbi.
    Adam Jones and Chris Davis are killing the Tigers 13-4 still in the top of the 9th. Jones with 54 rbi and Davis with 66 (5 today).
    Looky boys at a real offense. I believe nearly all of them are under 28 years old too.
    This team needs some starting pitching and they are in solid.

  9. Chuck A.

    June 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    The Phillies trying to somehow prove that Delmon Young can help the team is sort of like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

  10. AC

    June 19, 2013 at 4:38 pm

    He runs like Yogie bear

  11. phillieblue

    June 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I hear Andre Ethier might be available………

    • schmenkman

      June 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Depends on the price — he’s another guy who can’t hit lefties to save his life. Platoon with Mayberry, maybe.

  12. Adam

    June 19, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    One word: Ruf. Move Brown to RF and bring up Ruf and his .851 OPS. It can’t be worse than Delmon Young.

    • hogey's role

      June 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      Agreed

    • hk

      June 20, 2013 at 6:40 am

      Ruf’s OPS is .751. In AAA.

  13. T. Martin

    June 19, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Player A: 230 ABs – 6 XBH – 0 HR – 8 RBIs – 71 TB
    Player B: 132 ABs – 12 XBH – 6 HR – 17 RBIs – 54 TB
    Player C: 236 ABs – 15 XBH – 2 HR – 15 RBIs – 92 TB
    Player D: 155 ABs – 18 XBH – 5 HR – 18 RBIs – 69 TB

    A = Revere
    B = D. Young
    C = M. Young
    D = Mayberry

    Granted Delmon Young is (by far) the worst base runner and (by far) the worst fielder on this list. But the fact that these guys have collected 753 ABs and produced 51 XBH, 13 HRs, and 58 RBIs COMBINED demonstrates that the whole roster is flawed. Revere is terrible, Michael Young is past his prime and Mayberry is at best a 4th OFer so I don’t really understand why Delmon Young is being singled out here. Actually I do, it’s because everybody thinks he’s an ass of a human being. But he’s hardly the only underachiever getting WAY too much playing time. Last year the Phillies ran out Polly and Pierre and I don’t think either one of them had a single HR after 500+ combined PAs. No team can contend when 25% of the everyday lineup is below league average. We can all agree that Young isn’t the answer. The question I have is how much longer do we need to watch Revere do next to nothing and keep his job?

    • Manny

      June 19, 2013 at 5:40 pm

      No. It’s because D Young has a negative WAR, while the other three do not.

      D Young is COSTING this team runs/games.

    • Ian Riccaboni

      June 19, 2013 at 5:42 pm

      Revere has hit .296/.321/.333 in the last 30 days with 9 steals. If you add those steals to his singles and make them doubles, his slugging in the last 30 days goes from .333 to .416. You are willfully neglecting Revere’s biggest assets here (speed and glove) in your analysis.

      • T. Martin

        June 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

        Steals aren’t doubles. If he doubles and he steals a base he’s on third. If he singles and steals a base it’s still a single. The difference being a guy who’s on second can score on a base hit a lot easier than a guy from first. Let’s not sugar coat it. Revere is terrible and you can spin it any way you want but you don’t contend with a below average CF.

      • Double Trouble Del

        June 19, 2013 at 11:11 pm

        Ian point well taken. Revere has stepped up his game in the last month. You are also exactly right that nine singles translated into nine doubles factoring in his stolen bases and essentially putting him in scoring position each time. In addition his defensive numbers are at or near the top for NL CFs. Accordingly I am not sure what T. Martin is attempting to argue in his post.

    • hk

      June 20, 2013 at 6:59 am

      So, you cherry-picked statistics to make a point…and still failed. All that I take from your list is (a) that Mayberry is a slightly better hitter than DY, which Eric Seidman mentioned in the article and (b) that RAJ’s other off-season hitting acquisitions haven’t really panned out either so far. Since JMJ is a much better fielder and base runner than DY, your cherry-picked stats back up Eric Seidman’s claim that DY should not start against RHP’s if at all.

    • Mike in NJ

      June 20, 2013 at 8:26 am

      Another issue with Young is that he’s so slow and his defense is so terrible that you’re always using a PR or defensive replacement for him late in the game, so effectively your bench is one short every game…like last night they ended up having to let Michael effin Martinex PH because you already used Mayberry by making him a defensive replacement.

      If he was hitting .280 with more power, maybe you can accept that, but a guy as terrible as he’s been offensively doesn’t rate being that much of a defensive liability.

  14. j. gault

    June 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    I am 63 years old and I am faster than Young. Send him on his way, he stinks big time.

  15. "Big Ed" Delahanty

    June 19, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Amen to that! Let’s start a petition to remove Delmon and his 100k bonuses for maintaining weight and games played. Rube put the mescaline away, pal.

    • George

      June 20, 2013 at 8:39 am

      I’ll sign, even though I originally thought he should at least be given a chance. He’s terrible and even an idiot can tell that he isn’t getting any better. Something is really wrong when Phils’ management can’t see what a lump he is.

      Eric is preaching to the choir, but it’s about time the choir sang their complaints to management.

  16. hogey's role

    June 20, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    I would much rather sign Manny Ramirez and let him play rather than delmon young… really what is it gonna hurt he’s not any worse defensively, he’s a better hitter with and without steroids and runs a little better than delmon… why not?

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