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Delmon Young: From talented enigma to ALCS star

Detroit Tigers' Delmon Young watches his two-run home run during the sixth inning in Game 5 of the American League championship series against the Texas Rangers Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011, in Detroit.
AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Delmon Young watches his two-run home run
Detroit Tigers' Delmon Young watches his two-run home run during the sixth inning in Game 5 of the American League championship series against the Texas Rangers, Oct. 13, 2011, in Detroit.
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Will the real Delmon Young please stand up?

After watching the Tigers' outfielder crush two home runs in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series to keep Detroit's season alive, many Twins and Rays fans have to be scratching their heads.

Young was drafted by Tampa Bay as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft - and many scouts believed he had the talent to hit for average and power for years to come.

He did hit for average but the home runs were lacking - and so was his work ethic and defense. He was sent packing and the Twins acquired him in 2008. After two so-so years, he finally blossomed in 2010, hitting .298 with 21 homers and 112 RBI's - a phenomenal stat considering he often hit sixth in the order. Still just 24, he was poised to be a perennial All-Star.

Or not. In 2011, Young reverted to his enigmatic ways. Through mid-August, the injury-plagued Young was hitting .266 with just four homers and 32 RBIs.

And so the Twins - languishing through a 99-loss season - dealt Young to Detroit for two minor league pitchers in August.

So what happened? Young went on a tear, blasting eight homers and knocking in 32 runs down the stretch for Detroit.

Now the 26-year-old Young is flashing his power stroke when it matters most. He already has five home runs in eight playoff games - one more than his tally in 84 games with the Twins. The feat is even more amazing considering Young, who is recovering from an oblique injury, wasn't even supposed to be on the ALCS roster -- but an injury to Magglio Ordonez forced the Tigers to play him.

Is this the real Delmon Young? Detroit fans sure hope so. For wary fans in Minneapolis and Tampa, the jury is still out.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com