Big Shot Delmon | The Process Report

Big Shot Delmon

Robert Horry was the 11th overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft to the Houston Rockets out of the University of Alabama. He never averaged more than 12 points per game in a season over his long career, but Horry earned the nickname, “Big Shot Rob,” for hitting huge shots as part of three different title teams.

Enter Delmon Young.

Young, the former first overall pick of the 2003 draft has a career WAR of 1.5 per over eight seasons according to Baseball-Reference and has slugged .423 over 3936 plate appearances. Young is playing in his fifth consecutive American League postseason in 2013, and last night continued to add to his postseason reputation hitting a towering home run off Danny Salazar which changed the tone of the game. As friend of the site Jonah Keri put it earlier today, it was a “The Russian Is Cut!” moment.

That home run was the ninth one Young has hit since the start of the 2011 postseason in 92 plate appearances. Young’s .282 batting average in that time mimics his career average but his .624 slugging percentage dwarfs his career rate. During his postseason power binge, Young has punished starters, relievers, righties, and lefties. He has home runs off Salazar,  CC Sabathia, Matt Cain, two off CJ Wilson, Rafael Soriano, Ivan Nova, Derek Lowe, and the obligatory one off Phil Hughes while driving in 16 runs.  From a skill standpoint, Young’s regular season numbers over the past three seasons do not look much different from his postseason numbers. That is not the case when isolating his numbers with the Rays from recent years.

Last month, R.J. Anderson observed some tweaks that Young has made to his swing while cautioning about sustainability given Young’s track record. Young has only seen 262 pitches since joining the Rays, but there are some noticeable changes in the sample size compared to his efforts from 2009 until be released by the Phillies in early August.

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Young has fit in well with his new teammates, who had the highest team walk rate in the league in 2013. Not only is Young accepting more walks, he is also offering at fewer pitches an chasing fewer pitches out of the zone. In essence, he is becoming a tougher at bat at a time when the Rays need one the most.  If not for the free acquisition of Young, the Rays would have been left finding a solution between the three struggling bats of Kelly Johnson, Matt Joyce, and Luke Scott.



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