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What do the Twins really think of Delmon Young’s defense?

Mar 17, 2011, 4:50 PM EDT

delmon-young-twins AP

Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press did a terrific job incorporating advanced defensive metrics into a recent article about Delmon Young.

She spoke to sabermetricians Bill James and John Dewan while noting that the 30 pounds Young lost last offseason didn’t actually lead to major improvement in his fielding numbers and then used her access to get comments from manager Ron Gardenhire and outfield coach Jerry White.

For all the silliness trying to pit new-school versus old-school, I’m hoping to see more mainstream writers blend the two like Smith did.

My favorite excerpt is this Gardenhire quote:

We thought he was running faster, but that just meant he was chasing the balls he missed faster.

It’d be even funnier if it weren’t so true, as Ultimate Zone Rating pegged Young as being 10 runs below average defensively last year. On the other hand White said Young “is actually a good outfielder” and “knows how to play guys.” I find it almost impossible to believe White thinks Young “is actually a good outfielder,” but the guy in charge of coaching outfield defense doesn’t have much to gain by saying otherwise.

  1. kulserd - Mar 17, 2011 at 5:40 PM

    Oh Delmon, that Gardy quote describes you to a “T”. I can forgive your under-average defense if you knock 25+ homeruns.

  2. sometogethernow - Mar 17, 2011 at 9:17 PM

    What I wonder is whether shifting back to RF, the main position he played until a few years ago, would make him less bad, at least. It probably won’t happen this year, but Revere arriving and Kubel and/or Cuddyer departing could create an interesting shuffle next year.

  3. cur68 - Mar 17, 2011 at 9:26 PM

    “We thought he was running faster, but that just meant he was chasing the balls he missed faster.”
    Gwaaaaad… what a burn. Did Gardy not realize that was gonna be fired through the internet? Well, its a good thing Delmon is so scrappy because he aint got much in the way of instincts in the outfield.

  4. luckywi - Mar 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    The longer the ball is in the air, the less chance he has to catch it.

  5. cusoman - Mar 18, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    Why is so much attention paid to Young’s defense when Span’s is just as bad, if not worse?

    • luckywi - Mar 18, 2011 at 2:06 PM

      Span does catch balls. He takes good lines to the ball. Delomon, want’s to be a DH. And proves it very two or three games.

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