San Francisco Giants Should Take Flyer on Delmon Young


The San Francisco Giants‘ offense is struggling. Stop me if you’ve heard that in the past six years. It’s the truth, though. So far in July, the Giants are 1-7, have managed just 2.3 runs per game, and have been outscored 32-18. Injuries have taken a toll, as the team is missing two of their starting outfielders, and another is hobbled as well, but they need to find a way to put up some runs.

The Baltimore Orioles recently released Delmon Young after designating him for assignment last week. Maybe the Giants could take a chance on Young, and have him take the place of Justin Maxwell.

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Young wouldn’t be an upgrade over Maxwell defensively. The one place Maxwell has continued to shine is in the field. Young can play both left and right field, but he’s not exactly a Gold Glove-caliber player. He’s solid enough to get the job done, but he would have to make up for that in other places.

On the basepaths, Maxwell has really solid speed. Young is a step slower, but he’s not at Casey McGehee-levels of slow. But the one place that Young would be an upgrade over Maxwell would be at the plate.

Maxwell’s biggest attribute is his power. He has showed off the pop, hitting six home runs throughout the season. But Young is a much better overall hitter. Maxwell’s struggles at the plate after his red hot start to the season have been well-documented. Since May began, Maxwell owns a terrible .183 average (26-142). That number has tumbled even further since June started, as Maxwell is hitting a dismal .150 (12-80) since then.

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Young, in limited time with Baltimore, hit .270 (47-174). His biggest downfall is his impatience at the plate, as he has taken just four walks this year, and his on-base percentage is .289. That’s not all that pretty, but Justin Maxwell hasn’t exactly been an on-base machine this year, as his OBP is just .251, lower than Young’s season average. Young is an overall really solid hitter. The same can’t be said about Maxwell.

When Nori Aoki inevitably returns in a few short weeks from the fracture in his leg, Young would relegated to fifth outfielder responsibilities (or fourth, if the team decides to put Angel Pagan on the disabled list). However, Young has thrived in the past in pinch-hitting duties.

In 2014, Young was 10-20 (.500) as a pinch-hitter, and was 3-9 (.333) this year as a substitute bat for the O’s. Overall in his career, Young is a .339 pinch-hitter, and would be an immediate upgrade over the Giants’ bench options. Gary Thorne, the Orioles’ broadcaster, has referred to Young on more than one occasion as “Rip Van Winkle”, for his ability to sit on the bench for a long string of days, but come through for his team when he finally gets the call.

Young showed off his pinch-hitting acumen in the 2014 postseason. In game two of the American League Division Series, when the Orioles were taking on the Detroit Tigers, Young was called upon off the bench with the Orioles trailing 6-4 and the bases loaded. Young proceeded to come up with the Orioles’ biggest hit in two decades, as he slashed a double to left field on the very first pitch, clearing the bases and putting the Orioles ahead 7-6, a score they would eventually win by.

The Giants’ biggest problem over the past month or longer has been the offense. All too often they have been unable to put together enough hits to put up a solid run total. But Young could be a potential fix to some current offensive woes. He fits in with the Giants’ mentality of “keep the line moving for the next guy”.

If the Giants’ brass were to take a chance by bringing in Young, it would have the potential to be one of those “under the radar” deals that turn out big, which the Giants have specialized in over the past few years. Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, and Marco Scutaro can all attest to that.

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