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Previewing the Tigers: Delmon Young has his uses

We're continuing our previewing of the Detroit Tigers player by player. Expect much of the bullpen and the bench players to be doubled up a bit during the final week before the season, but we'll go one a day until then, by uniform numbers. I reserve the right to go out of order either on purpose or by accident.

Delmon Young #21
Left Field / DH

Maybe that "DH" is wishful thinking.

In any case, while a lot of sabermetric thinkers are constantly down on Delmon Young, I'm not one of them. I'm not an optimist at the same level some of our BYB commenters are, but I think there's more room for gray area in which Young rests.

Young pretty much is the poster boy for the saber vs. traditional debate. Typically he averages in the upper 200s, drives in RBIs and hits with some power. On the other hand, his on-base percentage isn't pretty, he hates walks, and his OPS seldom seems to make it above .800. His isolated power is curiously low.

He can be a useful player -- and he has shown the past several years an ability to drive runners home. Both with the Twins and with the Tigers, he was at or near the top of his team's Others Batted In percentage. There's a usefulness in that, and keeping him toward the lower end of the batting order to clean up the bases could be a beneficial move.

Given Young's numbers have been consistent, I am not going to predict any big outliers here. He'll hit for some average, avoid free passes and drive in runs when given the opportunity. I'd just put my rough guess at a season somewhere between in 2009 and 2010 seasons in Minnesota. I'll call it .290 average, .320 on-base percentage and .430 slugging.

He's probably not worth what he's getting paid, but it's hard for me to get too excited about Young either way.