Delino DeShields becoming key cog in Rangers lineup


As the Rangers continue to surge and contend for a playoff spot, one guy stands out to me–Delino DeShields. Picked up off waivers from the Houston Astros, the second baseman/outfielder has provided the Rangers with a key element of speed, something which the Rangers traditionally have not been known for. Gone are the days in which the Rangers depended almost exclusively on the longball for their offense, now they hit for average and have some speed to go along with some power spread throughout their lineup. The once overlooked DeShields has been an important piece in that transformation this season.

May 30, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers left fielder Delino DeShields (7) rounds third base to score a run in the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

DeShields leads the team with 22 stolen bases and nine triples. Also for a young hitter he’s shown good plate discipline, as he is third on the team in walks with 43. His nine triples is tied for third in the American League with Evan Gattis and Rajai Davis, trailing only Minnesota’s Eddie Rosario who has 11 and Kevin Kiermaier of the Rays with 12. He’s fifth in the AL in steals, trailing Jarrod Dyson of the Royals (23), Billy Burns of the A’s (25), Lorenzo Cain, also of the Royals (26) and Houston’s Jose Altuve (36).

He has shown his ability on defense as well this season, as he has committed just four errors this season and has a fielding percentage over .980. Most of his action has come in centerfield this season, with some in left and one game at second base.

Even though he was picked eighth overall by the Astros in the 2010, he had not gotten his chance to break into the big leagues until this year. The Rangers got him from the Astros in the Rule 5 draft this past year, and what a pickup he has been. He won Rookie of the Month in May of this year, and could be in the mix for AL Rookie of the Year. He’ll be a longshot to win the award with Houston’s Carlos Correa, Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor and Miguel Sano of the Twins taking most of the spotlight. Even if he doesn’t win the award, the impact he has made on the Rangers this season cannot be understated.

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His father, Delino DeShields Sr., also had an excellent rookie season for the Montreal Expos in 1990, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year vote. The elder DeShields had a 13 year major league career, but he is most known for being the player the Dodgers got in return for Pedro Martinez, which turned out to be a very lopsided trade for the Expos.

Sometimes guys come on and surprise you. Obviously the Astros didn’t think enough of a high draft pick to keep him. But just like Josh Hamilton was a high pick and never reached his potential prior to coming to Texas, this organization has tapped the potential of DeShields, and hopefully he will have a long career like his father, but keep up the play from his early career throughout his career.