DELMON IS DA MAN

If you go by the scuttlebutt of major league scouts, they say the greatest pro prospects of the last 20 years have been Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez. California's Delmon Young may be joining them. Young, the junior from Camarillo High, led his team to a 30-4 record during the 2002 campaign. It all ended when the Scorpions won the Southern Section Div. I championship. For all he did in that season, Young has been named the 2002 Mr. Baseball State Player of the Year by Cal-Hi Sports.

The last junior to be picked State Player of the Year turned out to be a two-time winner and a pretty good major leaguer. It was Eric Chavez from Mt. Carmel of San Diego for 1995. He's now enjoying an all-star calibre season for the Oakland Athletics. Before Chavez, you have to go back until just after the turn of the century for any other juniors on the all-time state players of the year list.

That list, which extends back to 1899 in the Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac, includes some of the greatest players in the history of the game, such as Rickey Henderson, Don Drysdale, Frank Robinson, Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio.

Another on the all-time players of the year list, of course, is Delmon's older brother, Dmitri. He was chosen for the 1991 season when he starred at Rio Mesa of Oxnard. Dmitri now plays for the Detroit Tigers. Dmitri and Delmon have become the first brothers to be named state player of the year in baseball.

Young ended the season with 65 hits in 120 at-bats for a .542 average. He had 17 homers, 56 RBI and 55 runs scored. His hit total ranks No. 3 on the all-time state list and is No. 2 for the CIF Southern Section. His runs total ranks in a tie for fifth on the state list and in a tie for second in the section. For home runs, Young missed the section record by just three, primarily because he had few pitches to hit after about the midpoint of the season.

But Young did more than just hit. He has a cannon for an arm, and in the CIF Southern Section Div. I semifinals he threw a four-hitter of 6 1/3 innings against Long Beach Poly. Young's final pitching stats showed him with a 5-1 record and a 1.67 ERA. He also had three saves and struck out 51 batters in 46 innings.

Other Cal-Hi Sports State Baseball Players of the Year follow:

Medium Schools: Ian Kennedy (La Quinta, Westminster)

La Quinta's ace compiled a 13-1 record with a 0.38 ERA. The junior also was one of the team's top hitters with seven homers and batting average that hovered around the .400 mark for most of the season. Kennedy was pretty much the consensus pick as Player of the Year in Orange County.

Small Schools: Dustin Realini (Valley Christian, San Jose)

Standout headed to Washington State emerged as one of the top players in Northern California by batting .524 with 14 homers and 56 RBI. Named MVP of the primarily large-school Mt. Hamilton League, Realini led Valley Christian to the top Div. IV state ranking.

Seniors: Adam Simon (Bishop Amat, La Puente)

With Delmon Young being a junior, this is one of those years in which a separate senior player of the year is determined. Simon, a UCLA recruit, led the Lancers to their second straight No. 1 finish in the state rankings. He went 13-0 on the mound with a 1.36 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 77 innings. Simon also was Amat's leading hitter for average at .530 with 25 RBI.

Sophomores: Matt Bush (Mission Bay, San Diego)

California has a tremendous sophomore class and Bush got the nod primarily because he was chosen player of the year in San Diego County over some pretty stout seniors. Bush broke Mission Bay's school record for hits with 56 and also had five homers, 35 RBI and 18 steals. His batting average was a robust .452 and he led the section in runs scored with 50. As a pitcher, Bush was equally strong with a 12-1 record to go with a 0.89 ERA plus 93 strikeouts in 77 innings.

Freshmen: Trevor Bell (Crescenta Valley, La Crescenta)

When you're first team All-Southern Section Div. I as a freshman, you have to be good. Bell was one of the top two pitchers and one of the top two hitters on a team that was state-ranked for most of the season.

CAL-HI SPORTS MR. BASEBALL

STATE PLAYERS OF THE YEAR

(All-time list; chosen retroactively based on research prior to 1980)

2002 -- Delmon Young (Camarillo)

2001 -- J.P. Howell (Jesuit, Carmichael)

2000 -- Mike Stodolka (Centennial, Corona)

1999 -- Ryan Christianson (Arlington, Riverside)

1998 -- Sean Burroughs (Wilson, Long Beach)

1997 -- Jon Garland (Kennedy, Granada Hills)

1996 -- Eric Chavez (Mt. Carmel, San Diego)

1995 -- Eric Chavez (Mt. Carmel, San Diego)

1994 -- McKay Christensen (Clovis West, Fresno)

1993 -- Derrek Lee (El Camino, Sacramento)

1992 -- Jason Kendall (Torrance)

1991 -- Dmitri Young (Rio Mesa, Oxnard)

1990 -- Mike Leiberthal (Westlake, Westlake Village)

1989 -- Todd Johnson (Bullard, Fresno)

1988 -- Scott Davison (Redondo, Redondo Beach)

1987 -- Tom Redington (Esperanza, Anaheim)

1986 -- Brian Johnson (Skyline, Oakland)

1985 -- Gregg Jefferies (Serra, San Mateo)

1984 -- James Mitchell (El Cerrito)

1983 -- Kurt Stillwell (Thousand Oaks)

1982 -- Bret Saberhagen (Cleveland, Reseda)

1981 -- Lenny Dykstra (Garden Grove)

1980 -- Darryl Strawberry (Crenshaw, Los Angeles)

1979 -- John Elway (Granada Hills)

1978 -- Lloyd Moseby (Oakland)

1977 -- Craig Landis (Vintage, Napa)

1976 -- Rickey Henderson (Technical, Oakland)

1975 -- Carney Lansford (Wilcox, Santa Clara)

List continues back to 1899 in Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac.


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