The Philadelphia Phillies have no choice but to depend on Delmon Young in 2013. He will play right field, and join Ben Revere and Domonic Brown, all three of whom are fresh faces for the Phillies. He will split some time with; John Mayberry, Laynce Nix and Ender Inciarte, though I expect Delmon to get the large majority of votes.
Delmon is a sub par defender, and has left his supporters longing for more in all but one of his six full seasons. He has looked poised to take the next step for years, but has never been the player the Tampa Bay Rays expected when they took him number one overall in 2003 (Delmon is 28).
Let me be clear though, Delmon Young starting for the Philadelphia Phillies is not the worst thing that could have happened.
First of all, Delmon Young is cheap, and his contract is laced with so many incentives that the only way he gets paid the full amount (a meager $2.75 million) if for him to reach all his performance incentives, of which there are a few clauses that pertain to his: weight, days on the roster, and plate appearances. The alternative to him over the offseason was Nick Swisher, Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn or a handful of other unappetizing options. Sure, Hamilton would have been nice, but you know what else is nice? The $125 million (what the Los Angeles Angels paid), which the Phillies still have, and can spend on other players over the next five years instead of Josh Hamilton. He would have made an already top heavy team laughably more top heavy.
Another reason depending on Delmon isn’t the worst is because he DOES have a lot of talent. His bat has shown pop in the past, and though his batting average has taken a hit ever since he left the Minnesota Twins, I don’t think there is any reason he can’t bring it back up. Citizen’s Bank Park is among the easiest in the majors to hit home runs in, which could very likely mean a decrease in his 22.4% line drive percentage and his 34.5% fly ball percentage. Take the points he’ll shave off of those numbers, and add it to his home run totals, because mathematically speaking they are more likely to leave the park here than in Detroit or Minnesota.
The Phillies need their infield, Ben Revere, the starting pitchers and their bullpen to perform well to win. A breakout season from Delmon Young will only add icing to the cake and take the pressure off the rest of the lineup. He could be a real difference maker at a very low price, and Phillies fans just need to wait and see.