Delino DeShields: Astros Future Center Fielder Or Jake Marisnick’s Back Up?
After racking up over 100 stolen bases in 2012 and posting an OBP above .400 in 2013, expectations were high for Delino Deshields coming into the season. Unfortunately, a .236/.340/.341 triple slash line has fallen short of expectations in Double-A Corpus Christi. With a drop in power production and increased strikeout rate, is this season an indication of things to come for the Houston Astros farmhand? Or, will he adjust to the level similar to his time in Lexington?
Delino Deshields boasts broad shoulders and a muscular build. With tree trunks for legs, a developed chest and massive biceps, the top-100 prospect possesses considerable strength throughout his body. Listed at 210 pounds There’s little room for muscle growth given his 5-foot-9 frame. it’s rare for a prospect to be maxed out physically by age-22, but DeShields fits the mold.
The son of former MLB player Delino DeShields of Montreal Expos fame, the young outfielder possesses substantial tools. As shown quantitatively through his prolific stolen base numbers of 101, 59 and 43 over the last three years, Deshields has speed to burn. His speed isn’t on par with Ben Revere or Billy Burns, but is still a plus-plus tool which makes him a dangerous threat on the basepaths when motivated. Combining elite speed with a quick first step off the bat, the former first round pick is able to range deep into the gaps to track down fly balls an average center fielder would not be within a dive of.
Other tools in Delino Deshields’ arsenal are less promising than his speed and glove. With average bat quickness and a choppy swing which brings his bat through the zone at an odd angle of almost 45-degrees with the ground, he struggles to barrel baseballs. The hit tool should play up due to his ability to beat out infield hits. Despite the impressive strength he owns, the Houston prospect hits the ball with minimal authority. To say Deshields possesses gap power would be a stretch. His best asset at the plate is an extremely disciplined approach. With a very patient mindset, Delino Deshields rarely stretches the strike zone or swings at a difficult pitch to hit early in the count. His ability to draw walks should allow him to post respectable OBPs even in down years at the plate.
Deshields also has makeup issues. The Georgia product displays a lack of focus during batting practice and minimal effort in games. Deshields fails to run out ground balls — even ones he has a reasonable chance to beat out. This is not a habit to continue, as the right-handed hitter needs speed to prop up the hit tool. DeShields not using his speed leaks over into the field too as the center fielder opts lets corner outfielders chase down balls in the gaps which are his. Delino Deshields has the potential to be an above average starting center fielder, but a lack of hustle will do nothing but stunt his development.
A down year for a 21-year-old in Double-A is not a reason to write a player off. However, elite hitters adjust to the level and perform. For a player who had no idea where the Astros High-A affiliate was after being promoted from Lexington (California League, so California maybe?), how does DeShields gain a knowledge of pitcher tendencies, improve plate discipline, read spin, or keys to hitting beyond physical ability? If he lacks the motivation to excel both mentally and physically, all the tools in the world won’t matter much.
Tool Present Future Projected Role Second Division Starting Center Fielder Hitting Ability 25 40 Power 25 30 Speed 75 70 Fielding Ability 55 65 Arm 40 45
Owning Delino DeShields
Back in 2012, I discussed DeShields as a “bowling ball striking glass pins”. The tools are explosive, but messy as well. And while the center fielder has developed with extra years of experience, the core concerns are still the same. Hopefully, astute dynasty league owners flipped DeShields last winter as a top-100 prospect. It was the best opportunity to sell high on the Astros product. If the trade deadline was any indication, Houston’s trade for Marlins Jake Marisnick screams the organization doesn’t trust DeShields’ ability to seize the position long term. Obviously, any player with the chance for 10-plus home runs and 40-stolen bases at the MLB level will garner interest in fantasy baseball, but Delino DeShields is not a prospect to invest in for the short or long term. – Mike Newman
1 Aug 2014 / Grant Schiller /
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