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Insider

Suspension sets back Young's development

Delmon Young's suspension hasn't altered his status as one of the minor leagues' top prospects -- and perhaps the top prospect overall. But it has altered his timetable to the majors, including the question of a September call-up, and it defers the decision the Devil Rays will ultimately have to make on their surfeit of outfielders.

Young, the first overall selection in the 2003 draft, signed a five-year major league contract with the Devil Rays that began in 2004. He jumped two levels after the 2004 season, crushed Southern League pitching and, to end the summer of '05, had a cameo in Triple-A, where his performance fell off a bit. Still, as a plus runner and a good outfielder with arguably 70 raw power (on a scout's 20-80 scale), he had a substantial case to be baseball's top prospect. He was ranked first overall by both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus, but I had him No. 2, behind Florida's Jeremy Hermida.

And then Young flung his bat. In reality, this wasn't an isolated incident, but the worst of a string of otherwise minor discipline and character issues that have dogged Young for the last two years. He was suspended last year for an altercation with an umpire. He went public with his frustration over not receiving a September call-up (one he didn't need or deserve, given his Triple-A numbers and his age), although he later recanted.