Texas Rangers: Is 2017 The Breakout Year for Delino DeShields?
By Andrew Webb
The Texas Rangers selected outfielder Delino DeShields in the 2014 Rule 5 draft. DeShields is a former 1st round pick of the Houston Astros. Struggling to find playing time the last few seasons, but could 2017 be his breakout year?
The Texas Rangers believed that Delino DeShields could be a productive Major League player when they selected him in the Rule 5 draft. A strong 2015 season gave the Rangers hope DeShields could be an everyday outfielder. After a horrendous 2016 season, the Rangers are asking themselves, can DeShields be an everyday MLB player?
DeShields was drafted by the Houston Astros as the 8th pick in the 1st round of the 2010 amateur draft. He never made it to the Major Leagues with the Astros before the Rangers selected him. Throughout his minor league career he was regarded as a good contact hitter with speed and a possible future leadoff hitter.
DeShields played 121 games with the Texas Rangers in 2015 hitting .261/.344/.374 with 2 home runs and 37 RBI with 25 stolen bases. Those number took a decline in 2016 when DeShields hit .209/.275/.313 with 4 homers and 13 RBI with 8 stolen bases in 74 games.
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The sharp decline from 2015 to 2016 is a concerning sign, but DeShields is only 24-years-old. He is under contract until the 2022 off-season which gives the Rangers and DeShields plenty of development time.
The Rangers 2017 outfield is crowded right now and DeShields is looked as a fourth outfielder off the bench. Shin-Soo Choo is coming off an injury plagued 2016 season and could see more time at DH in 2017.
DeShields still has fielding problems, but his offensive potential is what will get him playing time. Ideally the Rangers want DeShields to be their leadoff hitter at the top of their batting order. Showing strong signs of plate discipline throughout his minor league career.
An ideal leadoff hitter for the Rangers, but DeShields has not put everything together yet. DeShields needs everyday at bats in order to become an everyday player. Right now that is not available with the Rangers.
Having Carlos Gomez and DeShields at the top of the batting order is ideal. With Choo moving to DH more often in 2017 that opens up playing time for DeShields. A breakout season is possible, but DeShields needs more at bats to continue his development.