Young runner-up for AL ROY

Young runner-up for AL ROY

ST. PETERSBURG -- Delmon Young's stellar 2007 season didn't go unnoticed by voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of American, as the Rays' young right fielder finished second in American League Rookie of the Year voting announced Monday.

Young was runner-up to Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who received 24 of the 28 first-place votes and 136 points. Young received three first-place votes and totaled 56 points, while Royals right-handed pitcher Brian Bannister got the other first place vote and finished third with 36 points.

"Delmon Young is an unbelievable player," Pedroia said. "He's going to be a huge impact for that organization for a long time. He's going to hit in the middle of their order. He's definitely worthy of winning this award, as much as me or any other guy. The writers vote and they have their decision, but Delmon Young is an outstanding player."

Young played in all of the Rays' 162 games, finishing with a .288 average, 13 home runs and 93 RBIs. He displayed one of the best arms in baseball while patrolling Tropicana Field's right field. By midseason, few teams dared test Young while running the basepaths.

"As I've gotten to know him more, it doesn't surprise me," said Rays manager Joe Maddon in September when discussing how Young turned out. "One of his biggest problems in the past was that he thought he belonged here, and that's not a bad thing either. He just felt like he belonged here, and now that he is here he knows he belongs here.

"He has a lot of confidence in his own abilities. And he's handled himself extremely well this year. I'm very pleased with that. I also believe as he stays here longer he's going to be even better with his interaction with the same group."

Despite a strong season, Young believes he can do better.

"You just try to come out and put a strong season together and help your team win," said Young in late September. "The numbers are going to come eventually as you get older and more mature and see how the game is played. It's rare for guys to come in for the first full season and just do Albert Pujols or [Brewers rookie] Ryan Braun kind of stuff."

Count Carl Crawford among those impressed with what Young accomplished in 2007.

"He's been around for a while," said Crawford in late September. "He's got good baseball knowledge. He knows how to hit. He knows how to get base hits. It's good to have that kind of ability at a young age. We knew he could hit up here, now we're just waiting for the power to come."

Young now has more than a full year of Major League Baseball under his belt, giving him a better idea about the areas in which he needs to improve.

"Just that little sample [at the end of the 2006 season] was good," Young said. "But after having a full season where you figure out pitchers' patterns and just the way everything's gone on for the whole year, you can kind of take it in your head and try to improve on it for next season."

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.