2015 Orioles preview: Delmon Young

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With Opening Day less than two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2015 Orioles every day as they try to defend their American League East title this season.

March 9 – Adam Jones
March 10 – Chris Tillman
March 11 – J.J. Hardy
March 12 – Zach Britton
March 13 – Chris Davis
March 14 – Wei-Yin Chen
March 15 – Jonathan Schoop
March 16 – Travis Snider
March 17 – Kevin Gausman
March 18 – Alejandro De Aza
March 19 – Tommy Hunter
March 20 – Manny Machado
March 21 – Brad Brach
March 22 – Steve Pearce
March 23 – Darren O’Day
March 24 – Caleb Joseph
March 25 – Wesley Wright

OF Delmon Young

Opening Day age: 29

Contract status: Will become a free agent after the 2015 season

Minor-league options remaining: None

2014 stats: .302/.337/.442, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 27 R, 2 SB, 255 PA

Why to be impressed: In addition to providing one of the most exciting moments in Camden Yards history in Game 2 of the American League Division Series, Young was one of the best pinch-hitters in the majors last year, going 10-for-20 during the regular season before delivering the fatal blow against Detroit. Though he’s been better against left-handed pitching in his career, Young’s .809 on-base plus slugging percentage against right-handers in 2014 could bode well for an increased role this year.

Why to be concerned: Manager Buck Showalter has spent a lot of time talking up Young’s defense in the outfield, but the defensive-minded Orioles would be wise leaving him in the primary roles of designated hitter and coming off the bench. Young’s career .742 OPS doesn’t play well as a full-time designated hitter or corner outfielder, so you wonder if an increased role this year will expose his deficiencies and prohibit him from duplicating the magic he seemed to find off the bench last year.

2015 outlook: With the departures of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis, Young appears to be a good bet to easily surpass the 255 plate appearances he received a year ago. However, his history of struggling against right-handed pitching shouldn’t be ignored and that will impact his overall production. In 375 plate appearances, Young will hit somewhere around 10 homers while posting a decent, but unspectacular .755 OPS as the primary DH.