- Full name Delmon Damarcus Young
- Born 09/14/1985 in Montgomery, AL
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 240 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Adolfo Camarillo
- Debut 08/29/2006
Drafted in the 1st round (1st overall) by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2003 (signed for $3,700,000).
View Draft ReportYoung has been one of the most celebrated youth baseball players ever. He starred in national showcase events even before he attended high school, and was Baseball America's Youth Player of the Year in 2002 when he shattered the tournament home run record at the World Junior Championship. He has excelled in high school and summer league play as both a hitter and pitcher. He has dominated his competition much like his brother Dmitri, an eight-year major league veteran, did when he was a Southern California high school hero himself before signing with the Cardinals in 1991 as a first-round pick. Young is an outstanding hitter, particularly for his age. He routinely puts on a show in batting practice and carries his power into games, often hitting balls 450 feet or better. He has quick hands and the ball jumps off his bat. Young also has a powerful arm and has been clocked up to 95 mph on the mound. He elected not to pitch this spring because of a basketball-related ankle injury that delayed the start of his season and some nagging shoulder soreness. Even with his obvious arm strength, Young projects as a left fielder in pro ball. He's shown average speed and there's some stiffness in his running, limiting him to a corner. Young will be one of the first two or three players drafted; he has a commitment to Arizona as a bargaining chip.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The first overall pick in the 2003 draft and BA's 2005 Minor League Player of the Year, Young made national headlines in late April. He threw his bat after being called out on strikes and it hit a replacement umpire, earning Young a 50-game suspension, the longest in the history of the Triple-A International League. After returning, he kept hitting but also created more controversy in late July, when he criticized the Devil Rays for not having promoted him. Young, who voiced similar displeasure at the end of the 2005 season, proved ready for the majors when he finally got the call in late August. After Freddy Garcia delivered a message by hitting the rookie in his first major league at-bat, Young became the first player to stroke eight hits in his first three games since Hall of Famer Willie McCovey in 1959. His older brother Dmitri had a difficult year as well, checking into a rehabilitation center for depression and alcohol abuse, getting released by the Tigers in September and drawing a year's probation for assaulting a former girlfriend. Young has been well ahead of the curve in terms of polish since he signed. That continued to be the case during his big league debut, as he showed solid fundamentals with an aggressive approach in all phases of the game. Young possesses a smooth and consistent righthanded 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. His baseball instincts also are obvious on the basepaths as well as in the outfield. Young has above-average speed and arm strength, along with plus accuracy on his throws from right field. Young comes across as aloof and standoffish, which only added fuel to the fire regarding his character after his incidents in 2006. The Rays believe added maturity will smooth some the rough spots. Several observers noted Young's progress once he reached the big leagues, pointing to his lack of retaliation after Garcia drilled him. On the field, his plate discipline is lacking, particularly against veteran pitchers who know how to set up an overaggressive hitter. While he has above-average power potential, he hit just 14 homers in 570 Triple-A at-bats. Learning to get himself into better hitter's counts will make him more of a home run threat. He's still young, so he has plenty of time to develop. The Devil Rays held Young out of a game in the season's final week so he'd retain his rookie eligibility for 2007, when he should be a leading candidate for American League rookie of the year. By waiting so long to promote him, Tampa Bay's front office got its wish by ensuring that he won't be arbitration-eligible until after the 2009 season. He still reached the majors before he turned 21. As long as he stops being his own worst enemy, he should become a star.
Young did nothing in 2005 to argue against the predominant belief that he's the top prospect in the minor leagues. After signing a major league contract with a $3.7 million bonus as the first overall pick in the 2003 draft, Young led the low Class A South Atlantic League in hits and RBIs while making his pro debut in 2004. Last season, he would have had a solid shot at capturing the Double-A Southern League triple crown as a teenager had he not been promoted to Triple-A Durham in mid-July. He had to settle for Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year award. Young was at times a man among boys at the Double-A level, and won the Southern League MVP award despite his early departure. He ranked fourth in the minors in hits and total bases (294) and finished four home runs short of a 30-30 season. He and his brother, Tigers DH Dmitri Young (the fourth choice in 1991), were the highest-drafted siblings ever until 2005. When Arizona took Justin Upton No. 1 overall, he and Devil Rays shortstop B.J. Upton (No. 2 in 2002) passed the Youngs. Young packs a punch from the right side of the plate with a powerful and consistent stroke. His knowledge of the strike zone is advanced for his age, and coupled with his bat control allows him to make repeated hard contact. He's strong enough that he doesn't have to pull balls to drive them out of the park. He has average speed but makes things happen in terms of stealing bags and taking the extra base. Defensively, Young has above-average range for right field, plus the arm strength and accuracy to play the position at the major league level. With virtually no chinks in his armor, it's easy to see why managers tabbed him the Southern League's best batting prospect, best power hitter, best outfield arm and most exciting player. Because he's close to his brother, he grew up around the game and honed his instincts at a young age. Young has few faults on the field. He occasionally takes bad routes on fly balls and sometimes gets overaggressive at the plate. He could use some more patience at the plate after walking four times in 52 Triple-A games and 29 times overall last year. Though there are no questions about his makeup, he crossed the line twice in 2005. He drew a three-game suspension after chest-bumping Southern League umpire Jeff Latter in late April. When the Devil Rays declined to promote him in September, he ripped the organization (though he later recanted). Young has all the tools to be an all-star for years to come. Tampa Bay believes he'll channel his desire in the right direction instead of holding a grudge over what he felt was a slap in the face last fall. The Devil Rays are loaded with outfielders, but they'll hand him their right-field job when he's ready. He has little left to prove in the minors and could force his way into the lineup in spring training. It's also possible he could spend the first half in Triple-A refining his plate discipline and getting a little more prepared.
Tampa Bay narrowed its options for the No. 1 overall pick in 2003 to two players, Young and second baseman Rickie Weeks. Though their greatest strength was their outfield depth, the Devil Rays couldn't resist taking Young. He may not have reached the majors during his first pro season after predicting he would shortly after signing a big league deal with a $5.8 million guarantee, but he was anything but a disappointment. The right fielder overcame a modest start to display outstanding maturity and consistency for a teenager making his pro debut. Young fanned 19 times in 84 at-bats during April before warming with the weather. He led the low Class A South Atlantic League in hits and RBIs, earning recognition as the league's top prospect as well as a spot in the Futures Game. His older brother Dmitri was the fourth overall pick in 1991, making them the highest-drafted siblings in history. They might be displaced in 2005, however, as B.J. Upton's younger brother Justin could go as high as No. 1 three years after the Devil Rays took B.J. with the No. 2 choice. An intimidating presence from the right side of the plate who elicits Albert Belle comparisons, Young has a powerful, consistent stroke. He's selective at the plate and has outstanding baseball instincts, thanks in part to his close relationship with Dmitri. His quick bat and plus power enable him to hit the ball out of any part of any ballpark. Unlike many young sluggers, Young doesn't try to pull every pitch, mainly because his opposite-field power is outstanding. His ability to hit for power and average also stems from the fact that the head of his bat stays in the strike zone a long time. His plus arm has plenty of strength for him to play right field in the majors. SAL pitchers retired Young early in the season by busting him with inside fastballs. While he was able to adjust, some scouts believe he still has a minor hitch in his swing that leaves him vulnerable to heat on the inner half. He showed some patience at the plate in 2004 but his strikeout-walk ratio still has room for improvement that the Rays believe will come with experience. Though he has a cannon arm, his throws could be more accurate. His routes on fly balls also need to get better. Scouts have noted that his body continues to look more like his brother's, which isn't among the game's most impressive physiques. Young currently has average speed but will slow down as he gets older and heavier. Though he spent his first full season entirely in low Class A, it wouldn't be a surprise if Young reached the big leagues in 2005. He progressed at a rapid rate and showed the ability to make adjustments, and Tampa Bay probably has to jump him to Double-A Montgomery in order to give him a bit of a challenge. Young is a special hitter with more offensive upside than any of the organization's rising stars: Rocco Baldelli, Carl Crawford and Upton.
The first overall pick in the 2003 draft, Young received $3.7 million as part of a guaranteed major league contract worth at least $5.8 million. The younger brother of Dmitri Young, the fourth overall pick in 1991, Delmon signed too late to play in the regular season. He showed advanced skills in the Arizona Fall League, where he batted .417/.451/.625 in 15 games. Young has an impressive combination of natural baseball ability and an old-school work ethic. He had the most raw power in the 2003 draft, and was the best pure hitter among high school players. He's a good defender with a plus arm that will allow him to man right field in the majors. His speed is his worst tool, but it's average now and won't hold him back when he gets stronger and slows down. He was a bit overaggressive in the AFL, though it didn't hurt his performance and may just have been the result of being anxious to play. Upon signing, the ever-confident Young predicted he would be in the big leagues by 2005. He upped that projection to 2004 during his stint in the AFL. A September callup after strong showings in Class A and/or Double-A this summer is a strong possibility.
Minor League Top Prospects
Until he homered in his long-anticipated major league debut in August, it was in many ways a season to forget for Young. But neither a 50-game suspension for throwing a bat at a replacement umpire nor a less-than-contrite press conference to herald his return could do much to dim his star. He still has the five tools that had made him the best prospect in the game, and he's still just 20. Young excels at the plate because of his hand-eye coordination and his knack for detecting pitching patterns and making adjustments. "He has a quick bat and tremendous reflexes," Durham manager John Tamargo said. "He just puts the good part of the bat on the ball. He's pretty impressive." Young drives pitches all over the field but frequently inside-outs fastballs to right field, diminishing his pull power. He gets the most out of his average speed with high success rates on the basepaths (22 for 26 stealing bases) and plus range in the outfield. His arm rates as above average. Taken out of context, Young's Triple-A numbers don't scream star, but he has very few weaknesses for a player in just his third pro season. One could quibble with the low Triple-A home run total (eight) or K-BB ratio (65-15), but everyone who has seen him expects him to be a devastating major league hitter for a long time.
Known primarily for his bat since Tampa Bay drafted him No. 1 overall in 2003, Young showed off five tools in a major way this season, helped in part by shedding 30 pounds from his 6-foot-3 frame. In the best shape of his career, he made a run at a 30-30 season. Though his numbers dropped off during his adjustment period to Triple-A, his maturity to handle the jump at age 19 was impressive. He hits all types of pitching for power to all fields. He has solid-average speed and above-average strength, and though he drew some mixed reviews as a right fielder he has the potential to be a plus defender. "Delmon's going to be as good as Delmon wants to be," an AL scout said. "He can do whatever he puts his mind to do."
Even in the most talent-packed league in the minors, Young stood out. He only reaffirmed his preseason status as the game's best prospect by making a serious run at the SL triple crown--as a 19-year-old--before getting promoted to Triple-A after 84 games. Add in Young's improved baserunning and plus-plus arm in right field, he was BA's choice as minor league player of the year. "He's the total package, everything he was billed to be going in," Mississippi manager Brian Snitker said. "You hear a lot about him and he didn't disappoint." Young impressed not only with his superb natural talents but with his ability to use them. He showed a good idea of the strike zone and continued to flash enormous opposite-field power, leading the SL in slugging. He also hit the ball hard up the middle and stayed back on hanging breaking balls, whipping them into the left-center-field gap. Most managers thought Young could have held his own in the majors if the Devil Rays had called him up midway through the summer, though he still needs to improve his routes in the outfield. His defense will continue to get better with experience, but Young is already on the verge of superstardom.
Young arrived with the hype of being the No. 1 overall pick in 2003, but he didn't live up to it in April. He drew only one walk, struck out 19 times in 84 at-bats and didn't hit for much power. Slowly at first and then with amazing consistency in the second half, Young proved why he was the top choice by making adjustments uncommon for an 18-year-old. He doesn't have overwhelming bat speed, but he generates huge power with brute strength and a swing path that keeps the bat head in the zone a long time. His opposite-field pop helped him handle opponents who tried to pound him inside with fastballs. He led the SAL with 116 RBIs, 103 coming in the final four months. "He was so impressive," Kannapolis manager Chris Cron said. "He ran hard to first. He swung at breaking balls that were in the strike zone, which not many kids in this league do. He wasn't trying to pull the ball. He just had a real professional approach." Young's routes on fly balls could use some improvement, and he started to make some. His plus-plus arm is a dynamic weapon in right field. "He changes the outcome of every game with his power and his arm," Charleston Alley Cats manager Ken Joyce said. "He's a very special player."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2006
- Rated Best Power Prospect in the Southern League in 2005
- Rated Best Batting Prospect in the Southern League in 2005
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Southern League in 2005
- Rated Most Exciting Player in the Southern League in 2005
- Rated Best Outfield Arm in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2005
- Rated Best Power Hitter in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2005
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Tampa Bay Rays in 2005