It will be here before you know it. You just don’t want to go into the season without someone you can trust in the net. I don’t mean to quibble, but they’re never going to get the Golden Snitch without a decent Seeker, either.
The Phillies have signed the right-handed, oufielder-like Delmon Young to a one-year deal worth $750,000. The first pick of the 2003 draft, Young has struggled over the past two years, hitting 267/299/403 while playing miserable defense in left field when he got the chance.
He didn’t get the chance a whole lot. In 2012, Young started 145 games — 116 at DH and 29 in the outfield.
All that said, I think this is a good move for the Phillies. As bad as he’s been over the past two seasons, the Phillies are super-thin in the outfield and Young comes off an impressive post-season in which he hit 313/365/542 over 52 plate appearances. He was named MVP of the ALCS, hitting 353/421/765 with a pair of home runs as the Tigers swept the Yankees. At the what-would-be-the-peak of a career that’s been plagued by poor performance and despicable mistakes that raise serious questions about his character, you have to believe he is desperate to get himself on track.
Word is that the Phillies want Young to start in right field, a suggestion that seems so bizarre it’s a little hard to believe. While it’s true the evidence Young can’t play right field isn’t as massive as the evidence he can’t play left, a lot of that has to do with the fact that he hasn’t gotten a chance in right in a long time. Young hasn’t played a single inning in right in the last five seasons. It’s a little tough to think the Phillies are going to slot him in there given how bad he’s looked in left in recent history.
The part I do like about that idea is that I do believe Brown would be better off in left than right. Still, I don’t think letting Young be the everyday guy in right is the way to do it and I will be surprised if that happens.
The possibility is real that the Phillies could have a defensive alignment on Opening Day that includes Brown and Young at the corner outfield positions, Michael Young at third and Howard at first. That would be four positions where you have to hope the other team never, ever hits the ball. Four is too many.
Let’s forget the defense for a second. Is Young a better hitter than his fellow right-handed outfielder John Mayberry? Mayberry turned 29 in December. Young turned 27 in September. For me, the answer is that I’d much rather give a ton of at-bats to Young than Mayberry, but I think the case can be made that Mayberry has been better overall over the last two seasons.
Here are some of their numbers against lefties over the last two years:
First of all, Young has more than three times as many plate appearances against lefties as Mayberry does for his career. Mayberry was a lot better in 2011 and Young a little better in 2012. Mayberry has better career numbers against left-handed pitching, delivering much better power and walking at a slightly higher rate. Mayberry has walked in about 5.5% of his career plate appearances against lefties while Young has walked in about 4.7% of his.
Here are the numbers against righties:
Again, Young has had way more chances against righties. Almost five times as many as Mayberry, who is, again, about two years older.
For the career numbers, it’s advantage Young. Mayberry still has more career power, but has hit just .232 against righties while Young has hit .275.
Looking at the last two years, Mayberry was a lot better against righties in 2011 and the two were about the same by wOBA in 2012 with a slight advantage to Young. Young’s best year against righties doesn’t make the table. In 2010, he hit 292/317/463 against righties with a wOBA of .339. Notably, Mayberry’s .343 in 2011 topped Young’s .339 mark for 2010.
Again, over the last two years, you can make the argument that Mayberry has been just as good or better offensively. There’s no question he’s a better corner outfielder, mostly because Young is hugely terrible.
Again again, I’d still rather give Young the at-bats.
Young is working to change his image.
His image is bad.
The Phillies now have nine outfielders on their roster. Lefty Jermaine Mitchell is expected to be in camp as an NRI. Revere, Young, Brown, Nix and Mayberry seem like good bets to start the year with the Phils, which makes it a little tough to see how they would carry Darrin Ruf unless he takes Mayberry or Brown’s spot or someone is traded.