Delino DeShields Jr.
Delino Diaab DeShields
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 200 lb.
- High School Woodward Academy
- Debut April 8, 2015
DeShields hit .584 with 24 homers, 95 RBI, 107 runs and 62 steals in 75 games in 2005 and was timed at 12.06 seconds circling the field (with bases 70 feet apart). Baseball America named him the best 12-year-old baseball player in the USA. He went on to be a top football and baseball prospect in high school. He hit .415 with 29 steals as a senior.
DeShields was taken 8th overall in the 2010 amateur draft, selected by the Houston Astros; he was the first outfielder taken. It was the highest Astro pick since Phil Nevin 18 years prior. He was signed by scout Lincoln Martin for $2.125 million and made his pro debut that summer. He was just 3 for 23 with an error in his first five games as a pro, but settled down to hit .289 between two teams in his first professional season. After the season, the Astros indicated they planned to convert him to a second baseman, the position his father played with much success in the majors.
On January 16, 2011, DeShields made the news for the wrong reasons when he was arrested near Athens, GA for a traffic violation and also charged with driving under the influence and possession of alcohol by a minor. he spent that season with the Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League, hitting only .220/.305/.322 in 119 games with 73 runs scored and 30 steals in 41 tries as the team's starting second baseman. He made 23 errors at his new position. At 18, he was one of the youngest players in the circuit. Baseball America rated him as Houston's #2 prospect but did not list him among the top 20 in the SAL.
On April 18, 2014, playing for the AA Corpus Christi Hooks, he suffered a broken cheekbone when hit in the face by a fastball. The injury provoked some major swelling and Delino's self-portrait showing the grotesque damage made the rounds on the internet. He was picked by the Texas Rangers in the 2014 Rule V Draft and made the team's roster out of spring training in 2015. In his major league debut, he replaced Leonys Martin as the Rangers' centerfielder in the 7th inning of a 10-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics on April 8th, then singled off Dan Otero in his first major league at-bat in the top of the 8th, on a squibbler that barely made it to the mound. Fellow Rule V draftee Logan Verrett had also made his big league debut for Texas earlier in that game. He was named the American League Rookie of the Month for May after hitting .296 with a .406 on-base percentage, 22 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. What was shaping up as a solid rookie season was interrupted on June 14th, however, when he injured his left hamstring running in the outfield in a game against the Minnesota Twins. On July 21st, he set a personal mark with four hits in a 9-0 win over the Colorado Rockies; he came up in the 9th inning needing a home run to complete the cycle, but struck out instead; what would have made it more special was that teammate Shin-Soo Choo did complete his own cycle by hitting a triple in the 9th. He finishged that rookie season with a .261 average in 121 games, with 22 doubles, 10 triples and 2 homers. He scored 83 runs and drove in 37 while stealing 25 bases. He had an outstanding Division Series even though the Rangers lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in 5 games, going 7 for 24 (.292) with 4 runs and 2 RBIs.
Delino failed to build on that solid start to his major league career as his next season was wrecked by injuries. In 2016, he played just 74 games and his batting average fell to .209. He did double his homer output to 4, with 13 RBIs and scored 36 runs on just 38 hits. In 2017, he bounced back to his rookie-season level, playing 120 games with a .269 average, 6 homers and 22 RBIs. He led the AL with 13 sacrifice hits and scored 75 runs while stealing 29 bases. His speed was also on display in the outfield, as he showed tremendous defense. He hit all over the line-up in the early going, but on August 1st, manager Jeff Banister installed him as the leadoff hitter and he remained in that key offensive position until the end of the season, scoring 34 runs over those last two months while also showing improved plate discipline (he drew 24 walks in those two months, after getting just 20 over the first four).
After hitting a scorching .350 in spring training, he started the 2018 season by going 1 for 8 in his first two games as the Rangers' opening day centerfielder but on March 31st he was placed on the disabled list with a broken hamate bone in his left hand, putting him out until mid-May. That left the Rangers in a bind, as they had few players with any experience playing center field in the majors. He returned on April 22nd and did well at first, pushing his batting average all the way to .308 on May 6th. However, it fell steadily after that and was at .216 at the end of May. He hit only .065 (3 for 46) in his first 15 games in July, prompting the Rangers to send him down to AAA on July 24th. He was down for only a week, but played very little in August before getting back to the fold in September. In all, he hit .216 in 116 games with 52 runs and 20 stolen bases. He bounced back to some extent in 2019 for an improved Rangers team, as he hit .249 in 118 games, with 42 runs and 24 stolen bases. Still, his power was very limited (a slugging percentage of .347) and his OPS+ a weak 72. On December 15th, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians along with P Emmanuel Clase in return for two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber.
- Mandy Bell: "DeShields opens up about injustice, protests", mlb.com, June 5, 2020. 
- T.R. Sullivan: "DeShields prepared to do what it takes: Speedy outfielder uses offseason work to up his defensive game", mlb.com, January 19, 2018. 
- T.R. Sullivan: "DeShields set for breakout year with Rangers: Center fielder also slated to be club's leadoff hitter in '18", mlb.com, March 11, 2018.