Dmitri Young. Meat Hook. D Meat. Nicknames fit for someone as gregarious and outgoing as he is. Comeback player of the year in 2007. .320 batting average, and he was in the race for the batting crown towards the end of the season, but lost time to an concussion and wasn't quite the same after.
This season he finds himself in a battle with Nick Johnson for the starting spot at First. Unlike Nick, he hasn't given an ultimatum in the press of "Play me, or trade me". So that's a positive. But let's look at the whole situation.
Hitting: If you happened to catch any Nationals game on tv or in person last year, you can attest that the man can rake. He can pull it down the line, or spray it the other way. He has no significant holes in his swing, and shows power occasionally. Can he repeat those numbers? Maybe.
Intangibles: The things that Bill James wouldn't mention would be the things that makes Young so valuable. He's a "clubhouse guy" and seems to have a loose, friendly personality that his teammates enjoy.
Exhibit B: this was about RFK...
"You had at least 90 to 1,000 generations of rats and cockroaches that had multiplied in RFK since the last baseball team left," Young said. "I think the rats probably ran the Redskins off to FedEx Field."
"You'd come to the park and see the paint peeling off the facades," Young said. "When you left, walking through the tunnel back to your car at night, cockroaches would fall down in front of you from the ceiling. Thanks for helping me remember that."
Weight. The man weighs 300 pounds and takes insulin 4 to 5 times a day. He has lost almost no weight in the offseason, when he promised to come to camp so skinny, he could play LF. Well. He can't. Even if he had roller skates on and the outfield was paved, and sloped down hill.
So the health concerns are obvious, but that has a habit of trickling down into effecting play on the field. Already injured with a muscle pull, if he doesn't lose weight, more leg and muscle problems will undoubtedly crop up.
Let's be clear. He isn't one of those 1000 pounds guys on the Health channel where he needs help to bathe and has to be lifted up by a crane, but the man is a professional athlete, and he needs to slim down.
Verdict: Best case scenario would be the Nick is healthy and is the every day 1B. Meat accepts his role on the bench, starts every 4th of 5th game, and is the first bat off the bench, and depending on if he slims down and is consistent or not, we flip him or NJ at the deadline and hope that someone in the Minors figures it out in time, and can contribute next year.
Labels: Da Meat Hook