Delino DeShields was acquired during the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings this past December, which means he will likely break camp with the Texas Rangers or be offered back to the Houston Astros, who would likely snatch him up. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at what the experts say about DeShields and see if he has a chance of sticking with the Rangers for years to come.
The highest level that DeShields has reached is Double-A while in Houston’s farm system, where he hit .236 with a .346 on-base percentage, while hitting eleven home runs and driving in 57. The stand-out stat for DeShields was the 54 bases he stole in the 114 games played in Corpus Christi. He also stole 101 bags in 2012 in time split between Low-A and High-A ball. At the age of 22, that speed will be put to the test in the majors.
Baseball Prospectus compares DeShields to his father of the same name, saying, “DeShiels Senior–Dad if you will–hit .250/.376/.379 while posting a 21 percent strikeout rate and averaging 0.4 stolen bases per game over his minor-league career. DeShields Junior–Son–has hit .267/.362/.396 with a 20 percent strikeout rate while swiping 0.5 bags per game in the Astros system.” DeShields Sr. had a 13-year major-league career and had some very productive seasons in his time in the bigs.
The Texas Rangers currently have the two positions DeShields plays manned, with Rougned Odor at second and Leonys Martin in center, but there is a possibility that Odor and DeShields could form a platoon if Odor struggles in his second big-league season. The other option would be to have DeShields play some left field, but Ryan Rua is a right-hander, as is DeShields, so the two trading off doesn’t make as much sense.
Another option, and possibly the best option for the Rangers, would be to bring DeShields along slowly, having him pinch-run on occasion while he gets his feet wet in the majors. He could give the guys a day off from time to time, while Texas basically hides him on their 25-man roster as they await bigger and brighter days.
BP also says of DeShields, “…he could stick as a utility type with starter upside; he has the tools and burgeoning skills to be a major-leaguer. If he winds up back with the Astros, he might have to settle for being one of baseball’s most gifted fourth outfielders.”
It’s possible that he could end up being the replacement for Craig Gentry, who also has speed as has been considered “the best fourth outfielder in baseball” at times. Comparing their minor-league numbers, Gentry hit for a higher average, at .283 over parts of eight seasons, compared to a .267 mark put up by DeShields, but Delino has been on base at a higher clip in his time in the minors, at a .362 clip, compared to .353.
DeShields has the speed to become a difference-maker both offensively and defensively for the Texas Rangers in 2015. Yet to stay in Arlington long-term, this may be a season he is used sparingly.
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