Perpetual breakout/perpetual bust Delmon Young has long frustrated fantasy owners who have drafted him based on the unlimited potential we have been sold on for years.  For the better part of the last month, however, he may finally be living up to the hype.

It’s been more then that, too, as his overall numbers (all statistics are through Saturday) are solid:

205 At Bats
.307 Batting Average (63 Hits)
8 Home Runs
43 RBI
32 Runs
3 Stolen Bases
.345 On Base Percentage
.502 Slugging Percentage
.306 Batting Average on Balls in Play

In June, the numbers have been even better, hitting .387 with 3 HR, 16 RBI and 12 R.  While the BABIP is inflated, at .375, the big change has been in his ability to make contact.  In June he’s struck out just 6.5 percent of the time and for the year, he’s at 11.2 percent.  Just compare that to what he’s done the previous three seasons:

2007 (645 AB) – 19.7 percent 2008 (575 AB) – 18.3 percent 2009 (395 AB) – 23.3 percent

The lack of strikeouts coincides without drawing a walk, with just a 1.5 percent walk rate in June.  He’s never been someone who walked a significant amount, with a 4.2 percent career mark, but this is a little bit extreme.

The rest of the numbers are very similar to what he’s done in the past.  To date, he has an 11.4 percent HR/FB, the exact same rate he posted last season.  The reason we are seeing a little bit more power is due to an increase in fly ball rate.  For his career he’s at a 31.6 percent rate, but has it up to 37.2 percent in 2010.  At 24-years old (he turns 25 in September), seeing him gain power really isn’t a surprise.

That idea goes hand-in-hand with the number of doubles (16), which matches his total for 2009 in 190 fewer at bats.  The doubles haven’t been in June (3), but May, where he hit nine.  In other words, the power surge does not simply coincide with the current hot streak.

The question is, can Young finally continue this showing for the entire season?  Chances are he is not going to strikeout as rarely as he currently is, but there is every bit the chance that the power is for real.  Just look at what Baseball America said about him prior to the 2007 season when he was ranked as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays top prospect:

“Young possesses a smooth and consistent right-handed swing that produces line drives and the occasional cannon shot. He has an excellent approach, trying to drive every pitch back up the middle, which allows him to use the entire field and drive the ball consistently from gap to gap. He has the potential to contend for batting titles with at least 25-30 homers per season.”

Basically, that sounds like what he’s doing now.  He is putting the ball in the alleys and using his legs for doubles, occasionally catching one and sending it over the fence.  I’m not about to say that he’s finally developed into the stud player we thought he would, but he certainly has the potential to continue contributing all year long.

Given the upside and his current production, he is worth owning in all formats (and is a definite must own in five-outfielder formats).  Maybe it took him longer to get there, but either way, he has value.

What are your thoughts on Young?  Is this hot stretch for real or is it nothing but an aberration?


Make sure to check out our recent Scouting Reports:

Brett Cecil Jason Donald John Ely Brett Gardner John Jaso Brad Lincoln Jonathan Lucroy Jonathan Niese Jake Peavy Sean Rodriguez Mike Stanton Andres Torres


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