2012 Pod Hitter Projections: Delmon Young

After finally having somewhat of a breakout season in 2010, after showing little progress over the previous three seasons, Delmon Young disappointed once again last season, actually posting the worst wOBA of his career. He dealt with injuries to his oblique and ankle, which limited him to 473 at-bats and likely hurt his production. With the addition of Prince Fielder, let’s see if we should expect a rebound.

Previous hitter projection articles:
Dustin Ackley
Asdrubal Cabrera
Paul Goldschmidt
Prince Fielder
Ike Davis

At-Bats: 575. Somewhat risky projection, as he hasn’t posted a total this high since 2008. He should be healthy now after the injuries last year and since he never walks, it shouldn’t be too difficult to reach this total. Plus, Jim Leyland recently stated that he would see some time at DH, and he made this claim after the Fielder signing. So this should keep him in the lineup when the team gets tired of his poor defense.

Contact Rate: 82%. Same as last year and right about in line with his career average. His contact rate has kind of bounced around a bit, so there is a larger range of potential outcomes than other veterans.

GB%/LD%/FB%: 47%/18%/35%. One of the biggest knocks on Young when he first came up was that he didn’t hit enough fly balls to really showcase his power. A 35% fly ball mark is still below the league average, but it’s a heck of a lot better than the 27%-28% marks he posted in 2006 and 2008.

BABIP: .315. My expected BABIP formulas spit out .320 and .318 marks, and his career average is .328. However, that’s inflated by three straight .338 marks from 2007-2009. Since then, he hasn’t posted anything above .312. Yet, that still remains in his history and so I am projecting a bump this year.

HR/FB Ratio: 11%. This is where the fun begins. Last year, he posted an 8.7% mark, after posting two consecutive seasons with a 10%+ rate. He was much better in the second half, when he was likely healthier, as he posted a 14% HR/FB ratio. Though that had little to do with my projected rebound, it does lend more credence to the projection. What I found most interesting was a look at his ESPN Hit Tracker page.

Last year, his homers traveled an average standard distance of 402.3, which is excellent. Even more exciting though is his speed off bat (SOB), which was a ridiculous 107.7. I am honestly not sure I have ever seen anyone higher than that in all the pages on this site I have looked at. Of his 12 homers, only 3 were of the “just enough” variety. If we look back at 2010, we again find a 400+ average standard distance and a 105.5 SOB (AL league average 103.4). Of his 21 home runs, only 3 were classified as “just enough”. This is the type of Hit Tracker profile that suggests some serious power upside.

RBI and Runs: 90 and 75. Hitting behind Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder is a dream come true. Hitting behind not just one .400 OBP guy, but two?! Unfortunately, he loathes the base on balls, so his runs scored will be rather mediocre.

SBs: 3. It’s hard to believe he stole 22 bases in Triple-A in 2006, and that was in just 370 plate appearances. He hasn’t even attempted double digit swipes since 2008, so anything more than this projection is just a bonus.

Below is my final projected batting line, along with Bill James, RotoChamp and Fans projections for comparison.

Pod 575 0.280 18 90 75 3 82% 0.315 11% 47%/18%/35%
Bill James 425 0.287 13 66 55 4 82% 0.323 ?? ???
RotoChamp 520 0.285 15 77 70 3 83% 0.319 ?? ???
Fans (23) 544 0.281 18 67 65 3 83% 0.308 ?? ???

I had no idea before developing my projection, but it appears I kinda like Delmon Young this year. With the Hit Tracker data suggesting potentially big power upside and the addition of Fielder providing him with countless opportunities to drive in runners, he has a decent chance of outperforming my optimistic projection. He’s also just 26, so we should not have seen the best from him yet anyway. His current Mock Draft Central ADP is 225 and he is the 240th player selected on average. Sounds like he could be a bargain.

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Mike Podhorzer produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. He also sells beautiful photos through his online gallery, Pod's Pics. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

9 Responses to “2012 Pod Hitter Projections: Delmon Young”

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  1. Mario Mendoza of posters says:

    I just commented on this on the Asdrubal article, but the “Just Enough” categorization is not descriptive, thanks to being highly dependent on fence height. You wouldn’t expect very many “JEs” from Delmon, since he is a dead pull hitter and both Target and Comerica only have 8′ LF walls. No conclusions to be drawn.

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    • I think I understand what you are thinking here, however after rereading the definition on the Hit Tracker site, I don’t think it’s an issue. JE homers by definition just barely cleared the wall. Whether the wall is 2 feet high or 200 feet high doesn’t matter. The point is that it was so close to not being a home run, a number of factors could have been different to cause that same exact swing and pitch to result in an out instead.

      Obviously if a hitter’s homer results in a no doubter classification, there is a lot more margin for randomness to play a role and still end up with a homer. Basically, if we played out that swing and pitch 100 times, the majority would still go over the fence. For a JE though, that percentage would be a lot less.

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      • Mario Mendoza of posters says:

        The LF wall at Jacobs is 19′. A HR that lands 18′ (!) beyond that is categorized as “Just Enough.”

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      • Hmm, the site says “one fence height”. That could mean a standard height they consider a fence height, or the exact height of the stadium in question. I would think it’s the former, it makes more sense, since what you are interpreting it as does seem quite ridiculous.

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      • Mario Mendoza of posters says:

        I wish I was better at calculus so I could propose a real solution, but I don’t see why the definition isn’t, say 10 feet behind the wall, just as it is arbitrarily 10′ above the wall. Take 10′ off the distance or height and it’s not a HR, then yes, that’s Just Enough. But to say Asdrubal has to clear LF by 19′ not to have his HR called into question is kind of silly.

        In your two articles, you say AC’s many JEs cause you to lower expectations, while you call DY’s few JEs a “profile that suggests power upside.” I say DY is more powerful based on his avg True Distance, but JEs are not predictive of a regression due to inaccurate categorizatoin. (And DY had only 3 JEs in 2010 but certainly didn’t improve in 2011.)

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      • Mario Mendoza of posters says:

        Sorry, didn’t see your response until after I finished my second post. I’ve emailed HRT for clarification.

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      • Mario Mendoza of posters says:

        It is confirmed: The horizontal range of the “JE” area is fence-dependent. So a 388′ HR to left center in Cleveland that would land 18′ past the wall (field level) is “just enough.”

        However, I think that because the landing spot is field level, the seats in the way of that arc are actually pretty close to the top of the wall.

        If so… please disregard my complaints about JE categorization.

        (my point about Asdrubal’s big distance increase still stands though! :P)

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  2. jimbo says:

    “This is the type of Hit Tracker profile that suggests some serious power upside.”

    Do you have any history of similar player profiles? I’m curious how often the upside is realized.

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    • Unfortunately I don’t. There has been very little in the way of research done on Hit Tracker data. I’ve done a study in the past looking at the hitters who posted the highest and lowest just enough percent (minimum of like 20 HRs I think) to see what the hitter did the following year. Although both groups on average declined, the highest JE hitters declined a lot more.

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