With Thursday’s deadline to vote for Twins outfielder Delmon Young as the American League winner of the All-Star Final Vote and a last chance to join in on the “Drive in Delmon” campaign looming, let’s take a look at just how good the 24-year-old rising star has been in the first half of 2010.
After Tuesday’s 3-3 night, Young is now hitting .307 (fifteenth in the AL) with 23 doubles (tied for twelfth in AL) and 56 RBIs (tied with teammate Justin Morneau for eighth in AL.)
Young has gone through a complete makeover as a baseball player and no longer looks disinterested and lost, like he seemed at times in his first two seasons with the Twins. This season he is cool, calm and collected when he steps in the batters box and his numbers reflect that. He is a hitter to be feared now, rather than the free swinging, man without a plan, strikeout prone batter he was last season.
And he has made his hits count, frequently coming through in clutch situations for the Twins. He leads all major league players who have at least 75 at-bats with runners on scoring position with a .400 average and 43 RBIs. That is an amazing stat. He bats .333 with 17 RBIs when there are two outs and runners in scoring position, second on the team to Joe Mauer’s blistering .429 average in those situations.
His .428 SLG and .820 OPS percentages further demonstrate his revamped approach at the plate. Those numbers are the best they’ve been since he was a rookie with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006.
And to get this kind of outstanding production from a guy who bats in the bottom of the Twins batting order is even more impressive.
The majority of his at bats have come hitting seventh, but he actually hits better when in the six or eight hole. On the year, he is hitting .274 in 157 at-bats from the sixth spot in the lineup, .344 in 61 at-bats hitting seventh .400 in 25 at-bats hitting eighth.
He has come on a lot as of late, but really since the beginning of May, Young has been coming through big time for the Twins. He hit .320 with 24 RBIs in June and is hitting .400 so far in July, including the six-game hitting streak he’s currently riding.
After finding his way through the pressure of being a first overall draft-pick and as a teenager in the major leagues,Young finally seems to be rounding into the star that everyone thought he’s be and he’s digging out his niche as a baseball player this season as well. A guy who gets big hits in clutch situations, not a bad tendency to have.
And he has really cut down on his strikeouts. He struck out roughly once in every four at-bats last season (92 Ks in 395 at-bats) compared to just 35 in 258 at-bats so far this season, tied for eighth least in the AL among players with at least 250 at-bats.
Young is now just five RBIs shy of eclipsing his total from all of last season and he already has six more doubles and three more walks than he had in 2010.
He has played a vital part in the Twins success this season and is a big part of why the Twins lead baseball with a .287 average when runners are in scoring position.
Delmon is deserving of the ALL-Star vote, not just based on his numbers, but because of his clutch hitting and how much of a turnaround he has made in just one season
The Final Vote, sponsored by Sprint, will continue until 3 pm. CT on Thursday. Voting can be done on MLB.com or twinsbaseball.com. Results will follow later in the day on Thursday. Young is currently trailing in the voting, but is still within striking distance if he can get a late push. There is no limit on how many times a fan can vote. Vote just once or vote a hundred times.