Right now, an interesting argument is going on at Raysbaseball's Message Board about which very talented/tempermental OF prospect for the Rays should the Rays keep if they had to choose one to keep and one that they'd want to trade for pitching. There's a poll for this question and the results are pretty surprising.
At first, it doesn't seem like a tough choice. Delmon Young is barely 20 and he's pretty much ready to be an everyday Major Leaguer with the stats that he's put up so far in the minors at such a young age, not to mention all the awards he's won so far. All the scouts say that Delmon has all the makings to be a "true" superstar player/possible future "Hall of Famer" in this game, the only downside(which isn't really a downside, just a character flaw) is that Delmon comes off as a primadonna in alot of ways. Is it the media making him look like one or is he truly like that, right now its unclear.
On the other side of this discussion is the Rays long-time "bad boy" OF prospect, Elijah Dukes, who seems to be shedding his past persona and skyrocketing towards the majors. Elijah is thought, by some, to be a rare commodity in baseball's minor leagues: a 5-tool, six skill player. Dukes, if you've ever seen him in person or read the back of his baseball card, is a physical specimen if there ever was one. He's got all the tools to play the game, but the only thing that ever seemed to have stopped him so far is himself. He's been in trouble with the law numerous times because of anger problems and has had multiple ejections and suspensions on the baseball field. Many scouts have said that they'd love to have a prospect like Dukes on their major league team right now, but his attitude has completely left a bad taste in their mouth. Dukes, when happy, has the talent to be a future "all-star" in baseball...it's just up to him on whether or not he's willing to change himself.
Though it's never been blatantly admitted or substantiated, the thoughts around baseball circles is that once Delmon gets called-up....he's going to play his 6 years and leave to the highest bidder. Delmon's little blow-up during the announcement by Baseball America that he'd won the "Minor League Player of the Year" Award for the 2nd year in a row(which I believe has been done 2 other times since they've started giving out the award) pretty much aired all of Delmon's disgust towards the former regime's use, or misuse, of the phenom. There's been articles that have noted that Andy Friedman has spoken to Delmon and the Young Family about the Rays intentions with him and the NDRO is under the impression that the broken fences have been mended...yet, I still get the feeling that Delmon(unless a change of heart or Rays World Series happen) will walk once he's put in his 6 years with the Rays.
With Dukes, it's just the depth chart and contracts that are blocking him right now. Rocco Baldelli's signing this fall pretty much gives Elijah the choice of learning a new position or having to play 2nd fiddle/4th OF for the Rays until there's an opening for him. Many Rays fans, not me however, think that the Rays should trade Rocco while his value is at it's highest(the next 2 years) and install Dukes as our full-time Centerfielder. However, if the Rays wanted to trade Rocco all along....why would they have signed him to a contract where we have the option to keep him for 6 years? The Rays signed Rocco to a organizationally-friendly deal to avoid Rocco escaping to Boston or New York, so a trade isn't very likely. Also, if the Rays had to make an Outfielder Depth Chart right now....Dukes would probably be the Rays 6th OF right now(behind Joey Gathright and Damon Hollins). Yet Dukes has no ill feelings towards the Rays Front Office and doesn't mind hearing his name involved in trade rumors or anything, plus he also feels that he's not just trying out for a Rays job...he's trying out for every other team in the majors. He's been phenomenal in Spring Training so far and has shown no glimpses of the fiery temper that all Rays fans know about. He seems like a kid in a candy store, enjoying this rare opportunity that has been brought forth before him.
So, if you had to choose between Young and Dukes...knowing what they're feelings are, who would you choose?
Delmon,a possible "superstar"/"future hall of famer" in the making, who will more than likely leave rather than stay with the Rays once his "clock" starts...
Elijah Dukes, our former "bad boy" who doesn't have the HOF talent that Delmon has but is a rare commodity as a hitting prospect himself, who would love to play his entire career for the Rays or whoever once given the opportunity.
Delmon Young Vs. Elijah Dukes, take your pick
This poll is closed