Fixing Delmon Young

A lot of the posts in this blog have been about analysis of numbers. I know that spreadsheets, graphs, math and statistic can really give people a headache sometimes, so I am departing today from all of these and going back to something I used to love doing when I was a kid: Do you remember in the quiz sections of the newspaper or in the back side of a place mat (the ones you draw on with crayons to keep quiet when waiting for food to come in a diner) the quizzes that had two similar pictures side by size and asked you to find 5 or 10 differences and circle them? This is what this is all about, and Delmon Young.

One of the biggest criticisms of Delmon Young is that Delmon is a singles hitter and will never develop any power. I tried to answer some of this with math and analysis here last month, but let's play this game of looking at pictures and finding differences.

We'll make it more interesting than that: We'll look at pictures of swings by successful hitters and pictures of swings by Delmon to see whether there might be something obvious:

Let's start with the successful hitters:

Some righties:

Kibry Puckett:

Mike Schmidt:

Albert Pujols:

Alex Rodriguez:

Mickey Mantle:

and some lefties:

Mickey Mantle again:

Darryl Strawberry:

Ted Williams:

Joe Mauer:

Here are some Delmon Young swings:

Do you see an obvious difference between Delmon Young's swing and those of the other players'?

Here is some help: Draw an imaginary line from the base of the batter's neck and see where and whether it meets the player's tailbone during the swing.

Here is a visual comparing two of the above swings at the same point of the swing, with that line drawn:

As you can see, Ted Williams' (and all those above players) has his neck aligned with his tailbone, while Delmon's neck is way back aligned with the ground at about his back leg.

This is very unbalanced. One cannot generate any power this way. Actually one would be glad not to fall on his butt after such a swing. This indicates a top body and lower body imbalance and needs to be fixed for Young to be successfully hitting the ball far. (I could also talk about squaring one's shoulders but this is a different story and somewhat controversial)

Do you know who else from the Twins' team swings like this?

(Actually, in addition to Brian Buscher pictured above, Nick Punto and Mike Redmond also swing off-balance, with the known results)

Google images of swings of your favorite players and compare them to Delmon's or watch closely next time players hit (but static images are better, just because swings are too fast)

This is so obvious that Vavra has to do something here. I suspect that he sees that, since it is extremely obvious. If he doesn't (and at least four of his hitters swing like that), does he need to be a hitting coach?

Alternatively, the Twins should get this guy for their hitting coach. (The previous link is for a 15 minute instructional video on swinging by one of the best hitters and now coaches in the game of baseball; highly recommended to everyone who wants to look at the art of hitting. Have a look at it and then next time you watch the Twins have a look at Twins' players at the plate)

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Great analysis and it makes a lot of sense as well. Something needs to be done about Delmon Young because he looks terrible.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff. Do any other successful hitters roll over on the side of their front foot like Mantle. All the other players front foot is flat. (Reggie Jackson maybe?)

Juanie said...

My question about Delmon Young is how long do you keep running a guy like this out there who has been horrendous at the plate this year? He is currently on pace for 4 HR, 4 2B, and 171 k's this year! This has actually been one of my biggest beefs with Gardy this year, although I have a feeling it is less his call than upper management. Although I don't think he's as bad an outfielder as some people say he is, I wouldn't consider him an asset in left field. I'd think a superior athlete such as DY should be able to track a fly ball better than he does. At this point, I actually wouldn't mind the team sending him down to AAA (not sure if they can) because I think he needs a wake up call. In his 1+ years with the Twins, he has shown me very little potential to be a star in the league.

About Vavra, why are some players struggling so badly at the plate (Young, Punto, Casilla) while others seem to be excelling (Mauer, Morneau, Span, Kubel)? Although the hitting coach has some impact on the hitting of his team, I'm not convinced changing Vavra out with someone else would make much of a difference. I put more of the blame on the scouting department and management who (at least to thus point) missed on players like Young in the first place. Ultimately its the players who have to perform, not the coach, and coaches can only do so much with lousy players.

thrylos98 said...


Thanks. Young does not do the front foot roll all the time. Even in some of these shots his front foot seems planted. I suspect that it might have to do with the pitch (like he rolls it if it is outside or inside?) but I don't really know. There are so many front foot variations out there... I remember Kirby used to do his hop

thrylos98 said...


Thanks. Something will be done: Young will be hitting better with regular play

thrylos98 said...


re: Young this season, you might want to read this. In short: He needs regular playing time, he is played out of position (is a better RF than Cuddyer) and June, July and August have been his best months. I thing with regular play and at the correct position (RF) he will open some eyes. Cuddyer is about to cool off again so Young should get the regular play he deserves.

re: hitting. A good hitting coach is not the one who can take care of hitters with no problems but one who can take care the ones with problems. Also, a coach has to be looked up to by his players. Vavra's hitting track record is just not there (like who is Vavra the hitter and why should someone listen to him...)