Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Sidebar: Delmon Young vs. Joe Mauer

GREAT comments the last couple of days. I'm being challenged on lots of stuff, and that's fantastic, because I'm exploring this stuff myself. As I look forward to the next part of this series I really want to explore the idea that Twins fans perception of Young is skewed because he "isn't one of us", meaning we didn't watch the Twins draft him or his meteoric rise through the lower minors.

Which brings me to Ubelmann's impassioned plea to knock off the Mauer-Young comparisons. I had written the first paragraph below, and that got Ubelmann a little riled up.....

"In summary, [Young] was off-the-charts promising, even compared to Twins prospects like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. If you asked baseball wonks to project those three players as 21-year-olds, there is no doubt which one they would’ve preferred. Hands down it would’ve been Young. When the Twins traded for him, he was an ideal acquisition."

That's just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Even if you suppose that Delmon was the better hitter--despite his obvious lack of plate discipline--the difference in defensive value between a GG-caliber catcher and an average-at-best corner outfielder is gigantic. At most, it would have been a toss-up between Mauer and Delmon, and to say that Delmon would have been the "hands-down" favorite is spectacularly ridiculous. And if you'd like a present-day example, you don't have to look farther than comparing the hype for Travis Snider to the hype for Matt Wieters--and Wieters is even a couple of years older than Snider, but is still considered the far more promising prospect. (And using Delmon's RF metrics to defend is defensive abilities is focusing too much on a tiny set of data. Not to mention that if you're average in a corner spot at age 21, you're probably not getting any better--fielding abilities peak much earlier than hitting abilities.)

I know that no one suspected Delmon to be this bad, but I think that people projecting him to be a perennial All-Star as of the 2007-8 offseason were out of their minds. To be a perennial All-Star at a corner outfield spot, you have to be one of the top few hitters in the league--a nearly flawless hitter--and I don't think that Delmon displayed that kind of promise once we saw him against major league pitching. And it's not like this is total hindsight, because at the time of the trade, I wrote about how this was a really risky move, hoping that Delmon's bat would develop, because it seemed like he had no idea what he was doing at the plate, and there was a really long way to go between where he is now and what he might have become, and he had no defensive skills to fall back on.

OK, I'll play. I may be be wrong, and I'm too tired to do any heavy lifting, so rather than write up tonight's next part, I want do the following: I'll look up Mauer and Young's seasons at 20 and 21 on TheBaseballCube.com. I'll compare them, and then I'll also throw out what rotowire.com said about both players, just so we have an objective voice that was writing without hindsight. You know what? Just so we have another credible source, I'll also summarize what Baseball Prospectus said. Let's see what memories this drudges up...

Their Year at 20
Young spent most of the year in AAA, served that suspension, and was promoted to the majors where he posted an 815 OPS in the last month. This is the year he started striking out a lot more and walking a lot less. Rotowire says

"The Devil Rays expect to start the season with Young as their everyday right fielder and No. 3 hitter. With his power, speed and defense, he's a legitimate ROY candidate."


BP said:

"Young doesn't walk a whole lot, but boy howdy can he hit."


Then they praised how he did as a 20-year-old while cautioning that he'll need to learn some plate discipline to become another Vladamir Guerrero.


Mauer spent half of his 20 year in High A and half in Double A. Like Young, he had about an OPS in the lower 800s, a high average, little power - but he had a great eye.

Rotowire wrote:

"Mauer will be given every chance to win the starting job at catcher after the trade of A.J. Pierzynski. The 2002 No. 1 overall draft pick has lived up the hype so far in his minor league career and was named by several organizations as the 2003 minor league player of the year. After hitting .335 at high Single-A Ft. Myers, he hit .341 at Double-A with a .431 OBA. The Twins feel he's ready to make the jump to a starting job in the majors at just 21 due to remarkable maturity and astonishing ability to handle a pitching staff for his age. Combine that with strong defensive skills and he should stick in the big leagues even if his bat is slow to come around. The one worry for Mauer has been a lack of power (just five homers all of last year), but that should come as he ages. As a local product, he'll also face extensive media hype and frequent comparisons to Mark Prior (who was the second pick in 2002). Expect a solid batting average in his first season, but low power totals. Still, he's a top Rookie of the Year candidate and a must-have on any keeper list."

Unfortunately, I can't tell you what BP said. Did I not get the 2004 book? I can't find it in my bookcase. Sorry.

What strikes me most about the priase is how similar they are. Top player in the minors and ROY candidates. Mauer's defense is gushed about, but Young isn't viewed as a defensive liability. Both have some concerns (Mauer - power, Young - discipline and attitude). Mauer is viewed as a decent bet to stay in the majors because of his defense, it's not even a question that Young will stay. Mauer is also not viewed as an impact player offensively because of the lack of power, at least not necessarily right away. I'd call it a push.

Their Year at 21
This was the year Young played full time in Tampa Bay basically did what we've seen him do every year - hit for a decent average, little power and a lot of strikouts. I think it's worth noting that Baseball Prospectus listed his defense in right field as being just one run worse than average there, though he was worse than that when he (shudder) played center field. Rotowire talked about how he didn't have a great year, finished second in ROY voting, but had the talent to make that vote look silly in a couple of years. BP talked mostly about the trade, and brought up his issues, but compared him to Vladamir Guerrero for the second time in two years:


"Yes Young's moody, yes he's overly aggressive at the plate, yes his power hasn't come as expected, but he's also still just 22 and regarded by scouts as one of the best young hitters around. Rays officials are hoping against hope that he fails to live up to PECOTA's Vladimir Guerrero comp (a comparison scouts have made as well) as he heads north to the land of 10,000 lakes."

Mauer missed almost the whole year because of that damn knee injury. He did very well in the 100 or so at-bats he had. Rotowire said:

"Mauer was regarded as the top prospect in baseball before the 2004 season began and won the starting job at catcher. In just his second major league game the 2002 No. 1 overall draft pick tore cartilage in his left knee. After surgery he returned in June but problems with the knee landed him on the DL again six weeks later and he wasn't able to play the rest of the season. ...While the Twins say they expect Mauer to be able to catch again there is some doubt since he had soreness in the knee even into last fall. The Twins would like to keep him behind the plate because he's got strong defensive skills and an uncanny ability to handle a pitching staff at a young age. No matter where he plays, Mauer has strong plate discipline which should lead to a .300 batting average with modest power. If his knee is healthy, he should quickly become one of the AL's top catchers."

BP was more worried. Here's a good chunk of their review of his year:


"The Twins are telling everyone that there's no problem, and if you smoke enough oregano, you might completely believe it. Don't listen, because their actions tell you they're worried. Why else pick up both Mike Redmond and Corky Miller this winter? Even if or when Mauer is healed up, there's still the issue of his size, since he's probably the biggest catcher in the league behind the perpetually fragile Sandy Alomar. It's time to accept that Bunyanesque catchers aren't meant for long and healthy careers."


Geez, I'd forgotten all about the 6' 5" nonsense that BP spewed for years. And how it scared the hell out of us when he hurt that knee.

That, to me, favors Delmon Young. Yes, Mauer's defense added value to him, but there were questions throughout his minor league career whether he would stay behind the plate because of his size. There were questions about his power, even up through this last offseason where BP was comparing his career path to that of Jason Kendall.


So back to the "Wrong. Wrong. Wrong." paragraph I wrote:


"In summary, he was off-the-charts promising, even compared to Twins prospects like Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. If you asked baseball wonks to project those three players as 21-year-olds, there is no doubt which one they would’ve preferred. Hands down it would’ve been Young. When the Twins traded for him, he was an ideal acquisition."


Was Young "hands-down" a pick over Mauer? Probably not hands down. There were probably plenty of scouts that would've liked the catcher.


But Young would've initiated his equal share of drooling and was off-the-charts promising. He was also right-handed and projected to be another Vladamir Guererro. He truly was an ideal acquisition. So I'd go with "Right. Wrong. Right."


And I'll tell you another thing this little exercise has convinced me of. That we as a community, even incredibly analytical, fairly objective, sharp guys like Ubelmann, are completely undervaluing the talent that Young has demonstrated because it was with another organization. In this weekend's GameDay Chatter on the Twins Extra Innings show (On KSTP 1500 following Sunday's game) there will be a paragraph that says:


I can’t help but wonder, if Young had come up through the Twins minor leagues whether he might have been treated differently by the organization and fans. Would the Twins have asked their #1 overall pick to switch defensive positions? Would fans have been more patient with his lack of power if they had heard about him dominating Double-A as a 19-year-old? Would Gardy have hinted about trading Young if Delmon finished second in Rookie of the Year voting while he was on Gardy's team?


We waited for Mauer and Morneau despite all the concerns because we had been weened on their minor league exploits for years. And Young hasn't received that same consideration, either from the bloggers, the fans, or the organization, because we didn't get those weekly updates over several years.


And I'll go a step further. Developing this talent should be a priority. The Twins risk making another Big-Papi-sized mistake here. And this time, we'll have nobody to blame but ourselves, because the evidence of abundant talent is literally smacking us upside the head if we only care to open our eyes.

19 comments:

John said...

There is something a bit off with an argument that Young is being treated unfairly because Twins fans are not irrationally biased in his favor. Sure, if fans had more invested in Young, opinions would be a bit different. But that doesn't mean they would be more sensible- in fact, the exact opposite is true.

Young is being judged based on what he is now, which is the only thing that matters. Young certainly wouldn't be the first talented & hyped player to flame out.

Developing Young should be a priority? As opposed to what, a minor concern that coaches and fans should pay little attention to? That's the whole problem- the guy isn't developing and refuses to be helped by coaches. How exactly are you suggesting a solution to that problem?

ubelmann said...

Unfortunately, I can't tell you what BP said. Did I not get the 2004 book? I can't find it in my bookcase. Sorry.

Here's the Mauer entry:

Here he is. The Twins received a lot of flak from analysts, including us, for not drafting Mark Prior with the first selection in the 2001 draft and instead drafting The Local Boy. Since then, they've acquitted themselves very nicely, thank you. Mauer's hit for average, shown some doubles power, received raves for his defense behind the plate, and performed well against competition well beyond his years at each stop through the minors. With the trade of Pierzynski, it's clear that the Twins believe his time is just about here. Mauer projects as a pre-injury Jason Kendall player: He's got a broad set of skills, and he's going to be outstanding--a good defensive catcher with a high average, walks, and power. Twins fans, begin salivating.

It's easy to forget just how good pre-injury Jason Kendall was. From age 22-26, he had a 121 OPS+. Not as good as Mauer's current career 137 OPS+, but really, really great for a catcher.

Young's 2007 season is drastically overvalued as an indicator of future success, not unlike Luis Rivas' 2001 campaign. I'll be making the case soon (hopefully Thursday) that based on that supposedly amazing 2007 season, we should have expected Delmon to do basically as well as he did last year. I definitely feel that this year is something of an aberration for him, but even if he gets onto a more reasonable improvement curve, he has a really, really long ways to be the All-Star he was touted to be, and I think that that was the case before the Twins traded for him, too.

tborg said...

I see your point with regard to fans and media not being patient with Young. I'm not sure that he is singled out because he isn't from this organization though. Morneau wasn't received very warmly since he struggled a bit in his first year or two, and many fans and pundits thought that trading Dougie Baseball so Justin could play regularly was a bad move. In general, fans and media don't like young players. Where your argument has more merit, in my opinion, is in Gardenhire's comments. Even there though, you could say that Gardy is pretty pessimistic in his comments to the press regarding young players (with the exception of guys like Garrett Jones, for some reason). I would also say that Young has received a lot more consistent playing time than Cuddyer did. Remember, Cuddy was jerked around a lot in his first few years.

John said...

Thanks for the replies guys.

John, it's an interesting point, because you can make an argument that for every Mauer, Morneau, Cuddyer and Kubel - where the Twins generosity ultimately paid off (at least a little) there is a Rivas or Guzman where that patience did not pay off.

I don't agree that what he is now is the only thing that matters. That's my main point. We didn't trade for Young because we expected an impact bat immediately. We traded for him because he looked like he could eventually be Vlad/Albert Belle. And it's important to remember that.

And Ubelmann, it's funny that you should mention Rivas, because it was a post a couple weeks ago where I compared him to Rivas that made me start researching this. I expected to come to that same conclusion. But I wasn't thinking DY's 2007 compared to LR's 2001. I was thinking DY's 2005 compared to LR's 2005 performance at AAA, which everyone kept pointing to but was ultimately about 150 at-bats. DY's track record was obviously much longer, though at lower levels.

Finally, I'd like people to weigh-in on the whole attitude thing in these comments, too. I'm starting to get emails, FB posts, tweets with stories I hadn't heard beyond the umpire incident and the general feeling that he doesn't take well to coaching. I think I'm looking for specific examples anyone knows about.

John said...

Oops. I meant LR's 2000 performance in AAA.

Nick N. said...

First of all, as Ubelmann noted, it's pretty odd to use comparisons to Jason Kendall as a strike against Joe Mauer. Kendall was a terrific player in his early years and has had an underrated career. I'll take a catcher who hits .330 with a .410 OBP along with some power and speed any day, thank you very much.

Anyway, I guess I just take issue with this whole notion that we're doing Young some sort of disservice by not maintaining an illogical allegiance to him based on having followed him as he rose through the minors. If anything, having no attachment to Young allows us to clearly and objectively examine his career and make note of the fact that he has made essentially ZERO meaningful progress since he moved up from Double-A back in 2005.

The comparisons to guys like Morneau, Kubel and Cuddyer all miss the mark, at least for me. In the cases of Kubel and Cuddyer, I think that fans' frustration stemmed from the fact that many didn't feel these two were getting the fair shake their former prospect status seemed to warrant. Both had a hard time working their way into the lineup on a regular basis for several years, and in the eyes of a lot of fans this was one impediment that prevented them from reaching their potential. Also, I'll note that the signs were at least there with the players you mentioned. Cuddyer wasn't a very good hitter for his first several years in the league, but he was competent. Morneau had a tough season in '05, but still flashed legitimate power. Kubel improved every single year after coming back from his injury. Improvement and development are the names of the game for young hitters and Young hasn't shown any.

Had Kubel and Cuddyer been everyday players for the first two years of their careers and struggled the way Young has I doubt we'd have seen nearly as much outrage among the fan base. No one can argue that Young has not been given every chance to show something over the first 2.5 years of his major-league career -- he has more major-league plate appearances than Kubel. I know he's still young, but I've always felt experience means more than age and I have a hard time continuing to reward a guy who has shown no improvement (if anything he's shown regression) over 1500 major-league plate appearances at an offense-oriented position.

The simple counter to your argument that Twins fans aren't being fair to Young because they didn't follow his rise to prospect royalty is that his defenders are relying way too much on three- or four-year-old scouting reports that compared him to Vladimir Guerrero. Scouting reports are wrong sometimes, plain and simple, and there's been nothing about his game over the past three years or so to suggest he'll ever approach Guerrero's level. Or even Cuddyer's.

BeefMaster said...

I think the attitude thing does play a minor part in this - Minnesota sports fans don't have much patience for athletes they regard as "head cases". Just look at Randy Moss - despite all the coverage he got for bad behavior, he really wasn't any worse than any other star wide receiver, just more open about it, yet he was practically run out of town on a rail, traded for a bag of balls and Troy Williamson's concrete hands.

I've also been hearing the "uncoachable" comments thrown around lately, but never with anything in the way of specific examples - I'd also like to hear more about this.

I don't know that the Twins' patience with Mauer, Morneau, and Cuddyer is a good comparison for Delmon. Most of Mauer's early struggles were injury-related, which earned him a bit of leeway, and even with his modest first full year, he was a catcher, so the bar was pretty low for what they needed from him (even if they wanted more). Morneau got leeway because he came up and raked as soon as he was handed the starting first base job. He did struggle a lot in his first full season ('05), but he was still at least a somewhat productive player. Cuddyer got lots of complaints, but he put up roughly league-average production in '04 and '05, all while getting irregular playing time and being shuffled from position to position like Denny Hocking.

The real problem, and why Delmon's getting so much more grief, is that during his season-long slump, he's been pretty much completely useless. Morneau in '05 was still drawing a few walks and hitting the ball over the fence occasionally; Delmon in '09 is hitting seeing-eye singles a couple of times a week.

Anonymous said...

delmon does need to be developed, but not at the major league level. if we can send him down, we definitely should do that. maybe it would be a wakeup call to him. he's got talent, but if he is not going to listen to the coaching, we aren't going to put up with him. if he can change his approach at AAA, where the pressure won't be so great, he can come back. if he can't hit at AAA after a few years, then we will have a better idea of what to do with him. right now it is not doing anything for his confidence or the twins organization for him to be on the major league team and not playing every day. it would do even less for all parties if he was on the major league team and playing every day. so why is he there?

ubelmann said...

Here is my promised rundown on what Delmon's 2007 season meant for his future.

BeefMaster said...

Anonymous - Delmon doesn't have options, so he can't be sent to the minors without passing through waivers (meaning that any other team can claim him if they are willing to keep him on the major league roster). Awful as he's been, there are plenty of teams with weak enough major league rosters to absorb his bat and take the chance that he turns things back around. If Delmon goes to the minors this season, it wouldn't be with the Twins organization - he'd probably have to get picked up and waived by a half-dozen teams before he cleared waivers.

David Wintheiser said...

@Nick N:

The comparisons to guys like Morneau, Kubel and Cuddyer all miss the mark, at least for me. In the cases of Kubel and Cuddyer, I think that fans' frustration stemmed from the fact that many didn't feel these two were getting the fair shake their former prospect status seemed to warrant.

That's exactly the point TG is trying to make!

We supported Kubel and Cuddyer, the former through injuries and the latter through years of inconsistency, because of their prospect status with the Twins; Young was a better prospect than either (and is still younger than either), but isn't getting the same consideration because, it seems, we weren't the ones fantasizing about what he'd do as a regular in the lineup while he was tearing up AAA.

The comparison with Cuddyer is particularly apt, considering:

- Cuddyer, like Young, was a first-round pick. (#9 overall in 1997)
- Cuddyer, like Young, had a breakout couple of seasons in the minors (age 22 and 23 at New Britain and Edmonton respectively)
- Cuddyer, like Young, started his major league career with seasons that seemed disappointing offensively compared to his minor league performance in his best seasons, during which time he competed with other young players for limited playing time.

It's not a perfect analogy -- Cuddyer's good minor league seasons were both at higher levels than Young's (but also at a more advanced age; Cuddyer was also repeating AA in his first of those seasons) and Cuddyer was shuffled around the diamond way more than Young has been. But the Twins were patient with Cuddyer and now are reaping the rewards of having a solid, valuable player in the prime of his career.

The biggest difference between Cuddyer and Young is their upside; few have ever seriously suggested that Cuddyer, even as a prospect, could end up in the Hall of Fame, while Young's potential is right there with other top talents. Sure, you can argue whether or not Young is likely to ever live up to that potential, but I don't think that's the issue to focus on for a 23-year old player.

Point is, there are so few players who have the talent to be even prospective Hall of Famers that you discard one like an old citrus peel at your peril. Even if he's not one of 'our guys'.

David Wintheiser said...

One more log for the fire:

Rany Jazayerli spends a long blog post arguing over why the Royals should acquire Jeff Francoeur (http://www.ranyontheroyals.com/2009/06/radical-situations-call-for-radical.html). The money quote:

So yes, pretty much every number you look at suggests that Francoeur is a waste of a roster spot. Except for one, which is the most important number for any player.


25. As in, Jeff Francoeur is just 25 years old. It’s waaay too early to give up on him.


If 25 is way too early to give up on Jeff Francoeur, then 23 is clearly too early to give up on Delmon Young.

Anonymous said...

The idea that we should feel guilty for hating Delmon Young is absurd. No one should apologize for that. And the promise he showed in his early years should not diminish our hatred -- it should fuel it.

The heart of his problem is his consistent failure, or refusal, to improve. I wish I'd bookmarked the stories now, but in the most Twins friendly publications there are, such as the Star-Tribune and Kelly Thesier's columns on the Twins own site, Gardenhire has flatly stated several times that Young simply refuses to listen to or follow the advice of anyone on the coaching staff. If you haven't seen these quotes, you just don't read the strib. It's astonishing. I have never seen that said about any player ever.

This is not Gardenhire's typical badmouthing of the young guy until he pays his dues. It's the opposite. Gardenhire treated him with kid gloves. He went out of his way to praise him, to encourage his confidence. When he mentions Young's uncoachability, it sounds like a reluctant aside, not outrage.

When a guy shows a historic lack of plate discipline -- he's perpetually among the league leaders in swings at balls out of the strike zone -- he needs to show some commitment to improving. Otherwise pitchers just won't bother to throw strikes, and he'll swing anyway and strike out. Have you seen that?

I think you're not only wrong about him not getting a fair shake because he didn't come up through this organization -- I think the opposite is true. He's been coddled and treated with kid gloves BECAUSE he didn't rise through this organization. Much more minor offenses are brutally slammed in the Twins' own players. Bartlett and Garza were practically hazed -- Bartlett disparaged for not showing "leadership" to the veterans on either side of him; Garza slammed for not throwing enough off-speed pitches -- and both took it and toed the line. None showed outright scorn and insubordination to their employers, like Young does.

When he arrived, with a reputation for a bad attitude, a suspension for throwing a bat at an ump, and the odor of being jettisoned by the team that drafted him number one, the organization publicly went on and on about his good attitude. They had to. But don't say he got worse treatment than someone who pulled that crap in the Twins organization.

They need him to succeed to justify the trade. And because they can't send him down. My guess is they don't call him out because they know telling him what to do would just piss him off.

It took a year before Gardenhire even sent a warning shot across the bow that Young might not be among his four best outfielders -- and then he retracted it.

I don't fault the twins for taking a risk on finding a slugger -- god knows they'll never be able to afford one in free agency, so rolling the dice on a guy with a bad attitude was worth the risk. It worked with Randy Moss, for a while anyway. But a Randy Moss attitude without Randy Moss production doesn't leave much to like.

I'd like to hear from someone who saw the documentary about the Young family. I've heard it is quite unflatterying, and they all listen to no one outside of the family -- all coaches are completely shout out.

If he refuses to change, why should we expect him to improve?

John said...

A fact that many continue to ignore is that Young's ultimate future is of little importance to the Twins. His value depends on how and when he progresses. If Young's breakout (should it occur) comes too late, his value will spike with respect to free agency but he will have delivered little as a cost-controlled player.

Imagine this simplified scenario:

OPS by Year

2009: 700
2010: 750
2011: 800
2012: 850

Young would be well on his way to at least being a very solid starter, and with continued improvement possibly an all-star. But he also would have done very little for the Twins; given his defense, he wouldn't be even average until '12.

In this scenario however, the Twins would have had no real reason to extend him cheaply, and so right as he finds his game he is ready for the free agent market.

Developing Young for another team is a pretty unappealing prospect to me. He needs to come quickly or he may as well be jettisoned.

Anonymous said...

As for the basic point that no one could have foreseen Young's decline back in 2007, how about this:

"The questions about his power and plate discipline loom even larger now, with Young managing just 13 homers and 26 walks in 681 plate appearances while hitting a modest .288/.316/.408 during his first full season. His long-term potential remains very good, because players who merely hold their own in the majors as 21-year-olds often turn out to be special, but it's concerning that he's hacked at everything while showing only moderate power since advancing past Double-A in mid-2005:

PA AVG IsoP BB% SO%
Single-A/Double-A 936 .327 .228 7.8 19.9
Triple-A/Majors 1416 .297 .141 3.1 18.1

Young has maintained a high batting average wherever he's gone, which is incredibly impressive for someone who was a teenager at Triple-A and reached the majors at 20. However, after posting a fantastic .228 Isolated Power in 936 plate appearances between Single-A and Double-A, his Isolated Power in 1,416 trips to the plate between Triple-A and majors has been a pedestrian .141. In other words, he's lost about 40 percent of the power that he showed early in his pro career.....

Beyond the power issue, another concern with Young's recent performance is that his plate discipline has vanished. Never especially patient, Young walked in 7.8 percent of his plate appearances between Single-A and Double-A, which is a shade better than Torii Hunter's career mark. Since then he's drawn a free pass in just 3.1 percent of his plate appearances, which is an abysmal rate that when combined with his drop in power now makes Young anything but a sure thing to become an elite hitter."

http://www.aarongleeman.com/2007_11_25_baseballblog_archive.html

Anonymous said...

Bartlett and Garza were practically hazed -- Bartlett disparaged for not showing "leadership" to the veterans on either side of him; Garza slammed for not throwing enough off-speed pitches -- and both took it and toed the line. None showed outright scorn and insubordination to their employers, like Young does.

You have that completely backwards. Both Bartlett and Garza made negative comments about their employers in the media. What exactly has Young done to show outright scorn and insubbordination to the Twins? He's been a model citizen and always said the right thing.

When Bartlett was sent down and the Twins played Rochester just before the season opened, he was asked something about his demotion or his future. He made some comment about how he'd be fine - if the Twins didn't recognize he deserved to be in the majors, someone else would. And Garza wasn't quietly putting in his work when he was sent down. He thought the Twins didn't know what they were talking about when they said he couldn't get by using just his fastball. They hardly "toed the line".

Anonymous said...

I disagree. Bartlett and Garza were quoted once each for being angry about being sent down, then that was it. They toed the line in that they did what they were told, changed their behavior as instructed, and when they were brought back to the bigs they both made a point of repeating the party line about what they had "learned" from the experience. They toed the line.

Young doesn't have to complain because no one makes him do anything, or calls him out for refusing to obey the coaches. He does whatever he wants, knowing they can't send him down. It's pathetic. He in no way toes the line. He just ignores the coaches and does what he wants. What he gets away with on a daily basis is way, way more insubordinate than anything Bartlett was even accused of doing.

Can you even imagine Gardenhire mumbling something meekly about Bartlett like, he just doesn't listen to any the coaches, what can you do? It's absurd. Young was the centerpiece of the Garza/Bartlett trade, can't be sent to the minors, and doesn't give a hoot what his coaches say. I assume they don't call him out for it because they think all that would happen is he would openly defy them instead of silently defy them. How can you say he toes the line when even the hometown media and coaching staff openly acknowledge he ignores all instructions? That's toeing the line?

Anonymous said...

Young doesn't have to complain because no one makes him do anything, or calls him out for refusing to obey the coaches. He does whatever he wants, knowing they can't send him down. It's pathetic. He in no way toes the line.

Over the offseason Gardenhire all but said he wanted to trade Young or make him the 4th outfielder.

I hope people remember this "listening to coaches" thing next time they rant about how Ortiz underperformed with the Twins because he listened to the Twins coaching staff's instruction.

All in all, I don't like all the talk about players' personalities or who the coach likes or doesn't like or any of that nonsense, because it seems that so much of it is probably inferred from some random thing taken out of context or completely manufactured. From the outside looking in, we really know very little about that sort of thing, and it's annoying to see people talk about it with such conviction.

Anonymous said...

"I don't like all the talk about players' personalities ... From the outside looking in, we really know very little about that sort of thing"

I have to admit this is a very fair point, and an important one. Most of what I think of a player's supposed attitude and personality does involve a huge amount of extrapolation, and it is a little presumptious to hate a person you've never met. I've certainly felt foolish many times for judging people before I knew the whole story -- and you never know the whole story. So thanks, you're right.

Why am I so willing to go off on Young then? Name one other player who the coaches say, we just can't do anything with him, he won't talk to us?

"Over the offseason Gardenhire all but said he wanted to trade Young or make him the 4th outfielder."

He waited a whole year, and then he retracted it! And then nothing since!

"I hope people remember this "listening to coaches" thing next time they rant about how Ortiz underperformed with the Twins because he listened to the Twins coaching staff's instruction."

Okay, that's crazy. You're comparing Delmon Young to David Ortiz???