Good night, sweet prince.
They signed him to an incentive-laden deal, paid him to lose weight, waited for him to recover from ankle surgery, and then handed him the starting job in right field. And now the Phillies have designated Delmon Young for assignment after he hit .261 with eight homers and a .699 OPS in 80 games while playing his usual awful defense.
Young is still just 27 years old, but he’s been an above-average hitter for a corner outfielder exactly once in seven full seasons and is bad enough defensively that his best position is designated hitter. And since a supposed “breakout” season with the Twins in 2010 he’s hit a combined .266 with a .299 on-base percentage and .402 slugging percentage in 355 games, striking out 266 times compared to 57 walks in 1,402 plate appearances.
While in Philadelphia for the SABR convention last week I went to Friday night’s Phillies-Braves game and saw Young go 3-for-4 with a homer that landed about 10 feet from my spot in right field. He then went 1-for-15 with eight strikeouts in his next five games, which means I can officially say that I was there for Young’s last homer with the Phillies. Some things are just meant to be.
Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius had another fantastic night last night. He went 3-for-3, hitting a home run for the fourth game in a row, had an RBI single and reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances in New York’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.
For the year that gives Gregorius a line of .372/.470/.833, putting him atop the American League in average, slugging, OPS, and OPS+. He also leads the league in total bases (65) and RBI (29). He leads all of baseball in fWAR at 2.2, edging out Mike Trout despite the fact that Trout has played in two more games. He’s second behind Trout in homers with nine.
After last night’s game he insisted that he is not a home run hitter:
“I do have a lot of home runs, but it’s not like I am going out there to try to hit them . . . I’m not a power guy like Judge and Stanton, who hit 50 to 60 and up. Those are the guys who actually hit home runs. One year, let’s say, I hit five — then you ask me where that part went . . . if they go out, they go out. I’m just mostly trying to barrel it up and get a good swing . . . I try to hit line drives and if you check most of my home runs they were line drives,” he said. “It’s not like I am going up to hit deep fly balls.”
Given that he hit 25 homers last year and 20 the year before, he’s being a bit modest, even if he’s not likely to keep up this torrid pace. That modesty is not stopping some people from getting a bit carried away, of course:
We’ll forgive Bob for the hyperbole. Didi has been fun to watch.