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Player Profile: David Dellucci

Vital Statistics

Full Name: David Michael Dellucci
Born: 10-31-73 (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Height: 5'11" Weight: 195 lbs
College: University of Mississippi
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Position: LF, RF

Baseball Statistics

MLB.com
Hardball Times
Baseball Prospectus
Baseball-Reference
Fangraphs
Baseball Cube (minors)

Service Time/Options

Service Time: 8+ Years
Options Remaining: None

Contract Status

  1. $3.75M
  2. $3.75M
  3. $4.00M
  4. Free Agent
Background

Dellucci was selected by Baltimore Orioles in the 10th Round in 1995. He signed quickly, and was assigned to the Appalachian League; he was too good for a Rookie league, hitting .330/.390/.522 in  69 at-bats. Baltimore promoted him to the Carolina League late in the summer, which was a sizable jump. Still, even though his power numbers slipped considerably, his batting eye remained remarkable, walking 12 times to 10 strikeouts in 96 at-bats. For a first-year pro, that's a pretty encouraging sign. And next year, in his return to Frederick, Dellucci turned that promise into results, hitting .324/.438/.459 in 185 at-bats. This was as a 22-year-old, just the right age for a college kid.

Dellucci spent the second half of 1996 in Bowie (AA), where he struggled relative to his previous performance; his strikeouts doubled his walks. He was sent back to the Eastern League for the 1997 season, and he proved a quick study, as he hit .327/.421/.574 as a 23-year-old. By this time, I don't think anyone could deny that this low-rounder was a legit prospect. David got a quick cup of coffee in the midst of his breakout season, and was recalled at the end of the year.

The Arizona Diamondbacks certainly noticed Dellucci, and picked him in the Expansion Draft. David started the 1998 season in AAA Tucson, but was quickly recalled, and why not? This was an expansion team, and Arizona might as well see what he could do. He struggled in his first real major-league shot, hitting .260/.318/.399 and not exercising good plate discipline. But track records often trump outliers, and David was mashing in 1999 before a wrist injury ruined his season.

By the time 2000 rolled around, Arizona had spent a boatload of money trying to become a contender, and they were less likely to be patient with an injured youngster. He spent a good portion of that year on the DL or in the minors, but he returned to the majors in a reserve role, acquitting himself well as a pinch hitter. In 2001, Dellucci was finally healthy, but the D-Backs had signed Reggie Sanders to play right field. So he returned to the bench, providing power off the bench for the World Champs. 2002 saw Dellucci in mainly the same role, although he did get more chances to start. 2003 saw more injuries for David; this time he suffered a concussion in early June. Arizona dealt him to the Yankees for Raul Mondesi in order to make one last run at a championship. Dellucci was nailed to the bench in New York, and when he did get to the plate, he was awful.  The Yankees non-tendered him that winter.

So wha' happened? This was a guy who hit all the right notes in the minors. If we were praising Kevin Kouzmanoff to the heavens, what would we have thought of Dellucci in 1997? The Rangers signed him to a paltry one-year deal, and gave him semi-regular playing time. And he was actually pretty decent, although his batting average (.242) would have irked the traditionalist. The Rangers brought him back, giving him a two-year deal. He hit much better in 2005, and reached the 400 at-bat plateau for only the second time in his career. The Rangers dealt him to the Phillies before the 2006 season, and Philadelphia envisioned him becoming their prime pinch-hitter, for after all, they had Pat Burrell and Bobby Abreu locked in at their outfield corners. Things changed for David when Abreu was sold to the Yankees. Given regular at-bats the last few months of the season, he hit very well again in a medium sample size.

The Indians signed him to reprise what he did in Philly, this time teaming him with former Phillie Jason Michaels. You could say that Dellucci has had a checkered past, but consider that the vagaries of baseball prospects make his story a successful one, for he only looks bad compared to the other players who made it.

Strengths

Power, or, more specifically, power versus right-handed pitching. Given that he's essentially been a pinch hitter his entire career, he's comfortable coming off the bench. He can play all three outfield positions without embarassing himself, though the Indians don't really need to be positionally versatile. OK arm, decent range. He "makes things happen" on the basepaths, although that's not always a good thing.

Weaknesses

Can not hit left-handers. That's one reason why he's never been given an everyday job. He's also been a frequent visitor to the Disabled List, so his durability is an issue.

2007 Outlook

Your starting left fielder against right-handers. Could plausibly move to right field if Trevor Crowe explodes through the high minors, but that scenario is probably at least a year away. Will probably hit fifth in the order.