The Strib’s Howard Sinker has recently submitted an absolute beauty of a column that attempts to defend one Delmon Young, far and away the most celebrated league-average player of all time. Let’s go through Howard’s praise of ol’ Twinkle Toes Young one by one. Warning: some mildly desperate “please agree with me!” pleading ahead.
Point number one:
A .300 batting average
Not even close to important.
A team-high 102 runs batted in.
Even more useless than batting average, and almost wholly team-dependent. How does a guy who watches as much baseball as Sinker not know that by now?
A .931 OPS (on base-plus-slugging percentage) with runners in scoring position.
It’s actually .913 as far as BR.com is concerned, but whatever. Score one for Delmon here.
A total of 59 extra-base hits
27th in MLB. Decent, but unfortunately this is where the (barely) legit argument ends. Commence with the glorious picking of cherries, Mr. Sinker.
A month of July (.434/.455/.736) when he pretty much carried the offense.
And “Mr. July” backed up that Super Clutch month with a white-hot .218/.239.318 August, and has been ripping the cover off the ball in September to the tune of .203/.269/.373. Awful point, Howard. One would think you’re better than that, but at least you stopped there.
Oh wait. You didn’t.
You don’t have to go far to find a debate over Delmon’s abilities, which is one of the most pointless discussions at a time when the Twins are 30 games over .500.
“Delmon is terrible in left field.” “Who cares, the Twins are awesome!” “I thought we were talking about the specific abilities of Delmon? Weren’t you the one to bring up this topic?” “Loud noises! Distractions! Conversation over!” You can read Howard’s sentence a thousand times and it will not begin to make any more sense than it originally seemed. Believe me.
He’s a free swinger who is getting a better understanding of the strike zone — and the pitches he can handle outside of the zone.
Career BB%: 4.1. This season’s BB%: 4.3. My word, this is some ghastly desperation from Sinker. But let’s give him his due: the man is on a roll. Let’s see how he brings this baby home.
Delmon has slumped for spells. Guess what? If you look hard enough, you can find a several-week stretch of 2009 when Joe Mauer had a .288 OBP. And Jim Thome strikes out a lot, too.
Delmon is awesome because…Mauer had a poor slump once last season? Howard: your “backspace” button called … just a friendly reminder that he still exists.
(And just so I have this straight … in Howard’s world, bringing up times when a player has done well: A-OK. Bringing up times he has sucked: bullshit low blow.)
Delmon struggles on defense. That puts him in a group with every Twins left fielder of the last 10 years — Jason Kubel, Lew Ford, Shannon Stewart, Jason Tyner, RonDL White and Jacque Jones. All of them had shortcomings in one way or another.
Again, man: the “yeah but other guys suck too!” is not scoring any points in your defendant’s favor. It is also frighteningly batshit. No more drunk-blogging for you, sir.
Let’s try another group, the crew of AL Central left fielders: Delmon, Juan Pierre, Johnny Damon, Ryan Raburn, Alex Gordon, anyone that Cleveland puts in left field.
Delmon: the best of a historically awful crop of AL Central left fielders! Someone put that on a plaque.
Delmon: .300/.333/.488. Jason Kubel: .254/.329/.454. Delmon 18 homers, Kubel 19 homers. Delmon 102 RBI, Kubel 85 RBI.
Delmon: marginally better in his very best season than Kubel in his worst! Someone take Howard’s blog away from him.
(Oh, by the way: Delmon’s rank this year in WAR? 150th. Beautiful)