Dodger Prospect #4 - Delwyn Young

Delwyn Young came into the Dodgers system as the fourth round pick in 2002 with a bat in his hand and the ability hit nearly anything thrown close to him. Part of the reason he hasn't seem more Major League action is the fact he didn't arrive with a glove and they have been looking for a position for him every since.

He was initially compared to another Dodger minor league hitter, Victor Diaz, whose footsteps he followed until Diaz was traded to the Mets in 2003. Their games resembled each others -- second baseman whose abilities with the bat drew raves but whose misadventures with the gloves caused groans.

But Delwyn, or DY as he is called, surpassed Diaz somewhere along the way and with a switch to the outfield, seemingly has found a home. Call it a major in outfielding with a minor in second baseing.

Jerry Royster, Young's manager at Las Vegas, was a vociferous supporter and noted, "You think that Joel Guzman or Andy LaRoche are the best young hitters we have?" he queries. "Well, I think it's Young. No question. It isn't very often that a bat goes through the zone the way his does. It makes you pay attention."

LADugout.com and Dodgers Dugout selected Young as the winner of the Bill Schweppe Award as the most outstanding player in the system for 2007. And he will be given an extensive look this spring toward becoming the fourth outfielder, pinch-hitter and second base fill-in.

Young is currently hitting .337 with 17 home runs and 87 runs batted in. What's more, he's ripped 54 doubles, which not only leads the league but also sets a franchise record.

Making All-Star teams is hardly anything new for the 25-year-old. He's been chosen on a similar post-season squads in the Pioneer League, South Atlantic League, Florida State League and Southern League on his way up to AAA.

He's always had the quickest stroke in the system and he used it in rare style in 2007. Every batting statistic he compiled for Las Vegas is noteworthy but perhaps the one that stands out the most is the number of doubles he ripped -- 54 -- for that set a modern Pacific Coast League record. And lest you think that something of a fluke, consider that he hit 42 in 2006, giving him a remarkable two-year total of 96.

But he's certainty not interested in extending that figure, particularly after the rest of his eye-popping accomplishments: a .337 average, 17 home runs, 97 runs batted in. He's only 5-10 but he weights 210 and generates a lot of pop from that squat frame.

He kept right on hitting when called up to the Dodgers -.362 with two homers. For that matter, he did the same when named to Team USA for in pre-World Cup competition, he was the team's leading hitter with a .512 mark.

And over the past two seasons, he's made a successful conversion from second base to the outfield. No, he's not Willis Davis or Brett Butler but he's competent enough to play the corners, although his arm is a bit short for right field.

There were two significant moves for Young in 2006. The first was a switch from second base where he never evoked comparisons to Jackie Robinson to the outfield, and the second was his major league debut. The latter wasn't spectacular and involved eight September games with five at-bats.

   In the outfield he showed that he had the arm for right and could play fly balls in the corners in acceptable style. But his glove won't earn him a major league job; the bat will have to do it.

  Although you don't hear his name mentioned in the reverent tones reserved for James Loney, Andy LaRoche or Matt Kemp, D. Y. can present some impressive offensive credentials nonetheless.

   He packs a lot of muscle in his stocky frame and can drive a ball out anywhere. He tends to get impatient at the plate and will suffer slumps as a result but when he's hot he can light up the field. He swings just about the quickest bat around from either side. He's not much as a base runner, though.

  He was a fourth-round draft pick in 2002 after first turning down the Braves as a draft-and-follow. The Dodgers selected him in the fourth round out of Santa Barbara CC just as he was headed for Cal State Fullerton. At Santa Barbara he rang up a 24-game hitting streak and finished with a .344 average.

Sent to Great Falls he made a hit (pun intended) immediately. helping the Dodgers to the Pioneer League championship. In 59 games he hit .300 with 18 doubles, 10 homers, 41 RBI and 42 runs scored. He threw in a .444 average in the playoffs (8-for-18) with five extra base hits and four RBI.

He bettered that at South Georgia in 2003, hitting .323 with 38 doubles, 15 homers (leading the league with 60 extra base hits) and 73 runs batted in to lead the team in all three departments.

At Vero Beach in 2004, he continued to slash extra base hits (36 doubles -- a club record -- and 22 homers) leading the Florida State League in extra base hits, was second in homers and third in RBI with 85. After a slow start he hit .313 over the second half with 12 homers to wind up at .281.

He hit for a better average in Jacksonville in 2005 (.325) and led the team in homers with 16. Moving to AAA Las Vegas, between the two teams he topped the franchise with doubles (37), hits (162) and extra base hits (58).

The Dodgers determined they had to find a way to get him into the lineup in Los Angeles and switched him into the outfield. He didn't feel he's having any trouble at all, making the move. "Any problems?" he responds when asked. "No, not really. It's just like shagging flies."

Counting a short season in 2002, he has collected 819 hits over his six minor league career, 344 of them for extra bases. He's out of options and the Dodgers can ignore that lightening-fast bat. There isn't much more he can do in the minor leagues and he'll be playing for the Dodgers, or some other major league club, in 2008.

His complete record:
Delwyn Rudy Young   bb  tr  5-10  209
b-June 30, 1982
Obtained-Selected in fourth round of 202 draft

year	team     ave   obp    gm   ab   r   h   2b 3b  hr  bi
2002	GFalls  .300  .380    59  240  42   72  18  1  10  41
2003	SGeorg  .323  .381   119  443  67  143  38  7  15  73
2004	VBeach	.281  .364   129  470  76  132  36  3  22  85
2005	Jacksn	.296  .346    95  371  52  110  25  1  16  62
	LVegas	.325  .361    36  160  23   52  12  0   4  14
2006	LVegas	.273  .326   140  532  76  145  42  1  18  98
	L.A.    .000  .000     8    5   0    0   0  0   0   0
2007	LVegas	.337  .384   121  490 107  165  54  5  17  97
	L.A.    .382  .417    19   34   4   13   1  1   2   3

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