Fourth in the AL in batting average (.334); third in RBI (79); fifth in doubles (31); ninth in slugging percentage and OPS.
He's hitting .439 in July -- and .423 since Justin Morneau was put on the shelf with his concussion injury. He's hitting .436 with 61 RBI this season with runners in scoring position. He plays for a team that is in playoff contention and figures to be in contention for the rest of the season. He is 25-for-53 hitting 3rd, 4th or 5th in the order with 4 HRs and 16 RBI.
The blind taste test says that Delmon Young is, at the very least, in the conversation as a candidate for AL MVP if he keeps this up. He's on pace for 23 HRs, 129 RBI and a .334 batting average.
Now: We had a spirited Twitter Debate yesterday with Jonah Keri yesterday (author of an upcoming book about the Tampa Bay Rays, among other things). He says no way is Delmon a viable candidate. He points to a loaded Twins lineup, Delmon's paucity of walks and his average fielding at a non-premier position. Fair points. All Delmon really does particularly well right now is drive in runs, he says. So the only thing he's really good at is the object of baseball, we reply. Sure, we understand RBI can be circumstantial. But they are for everyone. Miguel Cabrera, for instance, has 15 more plate appearances with runners in scoring position than Young (132 to 117). And while there are no shortages of descriptions for the approaches Delmon sometimes takes on balls hit to the outfield, he is at least an adequate fielder with a plus-arm for the position.
Is Young the leading candidate for MVP? No. Cabrera, Josh Hamilton ... they probably lead the discussion. Is he in the top 3? In another month, maybe. Right now, maybe not. (Keep in mind, though: Justin Morneau finished second in the MVP race in 2008 with the exact same 23-129 line Delmon is on pace for, and he batted 34 points lower than Delmon's pace). Is he in the top 5? Now we have a conversation. Is he in the top 10 right now? Easily.