Not A Rookie: Delmon Young
So, as a Twins fan, am I happy about having Delmon Young?
Well, sure. He's only 22 and has 771 major league at-bats under his belt. In those at-bats, he's hit .293/.319/.419. Scouts still love him. He has incredible bat speed, and appears to be one of the rare hitters who can produce decent numbers even with dismal plate discipline. He hit 38 doubles last year, and I suspect that his power is only going to increase as he matures and boosts his skills to match his tools.
We don't have PECOTAs for 2007 to look at yet, but his Sim Scores are fascinating: The top five are Tris Speaker, Rocco Baldelli, Roberto Clemente, Joe Kelley, and Mike Tiernan. When three of your top five Sim Scores are Hall of Famers, you have something going for you. Tiernan was an excellent player in the late 19th century. Baldelli has been disappointing, of course, due to injuries. PECOTA is a better system than Sim Scores though, and I'll be very interested to see what it comes up with. Clemente seems like the best comp all things considered, in terms of what Young's ultimate ceiling could be.
The two things to worry about with Young are his strike zone judgment and his attitude. I suspect that he will gradually improve his plate discipline, though this is not something that the Twins really emphasize. It's not like he has to become a walk machine, but even marginal improvements in his selectivity should help him reach his ultimate potential.
The attitude issue is another matter. Is this just a matter of maturity? Will he outgrow it? Are the problems overblown? The Minnesota front office has usually looked a lot at issues like makeup and work ethic, and I doubt they would have made the deal if Delmon's issues were intractable. I guess we'll find out.
As for projecting performance, Bill James has Delmon projected to hit .301/.331/.446 this year. ZIPS has him at .292/.323/.424. My numbers are .287/.321/.437. We are all in the same ballpark basically.
If he keeps his head on straight and makes even marginal improvement in his zone judgment, Young will be an excellent player.