In mid-August, one of the biggest surprises of the season occurred when the Tigers worked out a deal with the Minnesota Twins for outfielder Delmon Young. The trade was met with scepticism by some but not by yours truly. Now, I’m not one to brag–that much–but the deal is certainly looking to be leaning the way I thought it would.
There was a hole in the Tigers’ lineup, namely the three spot. Jim Leyland’s utter refusal to move Jhonny Peralta or Alex Avila up in the order only compounded the issue. Brennan Boesch was better batting second, Magglio Ordonez was in the midst of a season long struggle and there wasn’t much else to hit in the most desirable spot in the lineup, the spot protected by Miguel Cabrera. Dealing for Delmon Young solved that problem for the Tigers. He’s hitting a modest .288 and doesn’t walk much, but he’s been a key two-out hitter and has driven in 14 RBI in his 18 games as a Tiger.
His arrival has seemed to kick start the entire offense as a whole as the team has scored 97 runs since his arrival for a 5.4 runs per game average. In the 120 prior games the Tigers averaged 4.4 runs per game. Perhaps related to the arrival of another veteran hitter, Austin Jackson has found his grove recently as he’s shown more power and patience at the plate and Magglio Ordonez has shown more pop in his bat when called upon, at least giving the Tigers an excellent pinch hitting option during the pennant chase.
However, the most impressive statistic since Young’s arrival has been related to the Tigers overall performance. The team has gone 12-6 and put a stranglehold on the AL Central since the mid-August deal Delmon Young has been all the more important in light of the injury to Brennan Boesch. Like the Jhonny Peralta waiver deal last year, Delmon Young has brought professionalism to the Tigers lineup and could be a longer-term solution than was originally expected.