As a high school senior, Delmon Young and his big bat were the #1 selection in the 2003 amateur draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. After a meteoric rise through the farm system he was in the major leagues three years later at the age of 20, hitting .317 in 30 games. But a series of controversies have marred Young’s professional career and his production has never lived up to his projected potential.
In the minor leagues with Montgomery in 2005, Young bumped an umpire during an argument and received a three-game suspension. With the Durham Bulls in 2006, Young flung his bat toward an umpire after being called out on strikes. The bat hit the umpire in the chest protector and Young was subsequently suspended without pay for 50 games. With the Detroit Tigers in 2012, on April 27 while in New York to play the Yankees, Young was arrested after being involved in an altercation on the street. He was charged with aggravated harassment under the hate crime laws of New York city. He allegedly used ethnic slurs during a confrontation with a Jewish man on the street. Young was suspended for seven days by Major League Baseball.
On the field, Young is a hard-hitting outfielder with a very strong throwing arm. He was compared to Albert Belle when he was drafted out of high school. As of 2012, Young had not delivered on the promise of being baseball’s overall #1 pick. He has hit for a good average in the big leagues, but his power numbers and run production have been low or spotty. His best season was for Minnesota in 2010 when he hit .298 with 21 homers, 46 doubles, 170 hits, 112 RBI, and a .493 slugging percentage. After being dealt to the Detroit Tigers in August of 2011, he blossomed, driving in 32 runs in 40 games and then hitting five homers in nine post-season games. But Young has never been able to put it all together on a consistent basis and take his place among the best hitters in the game. As a result, he has been unpopular in each of his three big league stops.