Delino DeShields Jr. #96 – 2013 Top 100
Date of Birth: August 16th, 1992 (Age 20)
Origin: 1st Round Pick(#8 overall) in 2010 out of Woodward Academy (GA)
Height: 5′ 9″
Steve Fiorindo: After a very disappointing 2011, many observers lost faith in Delino DeShields, and some thought he may be a first round bust after a few years in the minors. His 2012 campaign not only erased those thoughts, but his season put him back on the prospect map and landed him on the back end of our Top 100 Prospects List. DeShields found himself back in the Sally League to start the 2012 season, and in his repeat season he reached base nearly 10 percent more often than the previous year. He put up a nifty .839 OPS in Lexinton too, as he established himself as one of the top leadoff hitting prospects in the minors.
I caught live looks of Deshields after his promotion to the Cal League, and despite the dip in his offensive production, he looked good. He looked a little worn down at the end of a long season, and it looked like he may have been battling injuries too as the trainer was working with him extensively. I did see him hit a home run (it is the Cal League, and I saw him in Adelanto, where I could probably put a few out in batting practice), but I don’t see over the fence power being a huge asset of his. I see more gap to gap where he can use his outstanding speed to impact the game.
JD Sussman: I’d like to see DeSheilds’ flatten out his swing plane to keep the ball on the ground to get the most value from his best tool: his speed. He’s stocky and there is enough bat speed to see power there, but I would prefer if he tries to develop his speed game before trying to jerk pitches over the fence. He is clearly raw at this point, but he’s got an exciting package.
Chris Blessing: I missed Delino Deshields Jr during his two seasons applying his craft in the South Atlantic league. Lexington always seems to visit Rome at the most inopportune times. Anyway, Deshields main attribute is his speed. In a year when Billy Hamilton stole 155 bases and overshadowed all base stealers in professional baseball, Deshields stole 102. He stole 102 bases in 121 attempts.
Also like Hamilton, Deshields is another speedster that continues to accumulate too many strikeouts. A contact of mine worries about the length of his swing, which is one of the reasons for the high strikeout numbers. As Steve pointed out in his comments, Deshields is likely a gap to gap hitter on the big league stage. If he can get his strikeout rate down, I’ll like him much more than I do right now as a prospect.
Fantasy Outlook by Stephen Kuperman:
Despite the rawness to his game, DeShields warrants a premium draft pick in minors-only draft leagues due to the paucity of quality second basemen for fantasy purposes and his potential to provide elite stolen base totals with above-average pop for a middle infielder. If your league values OBP, he’s even an better value due to his patient approach. It’s advisable, however, to remember that he may end up moving off second base (where he remains somewhat raw) to the outfield, which would preserve his legs.
He’s also a long way from the major leagues, having not reached Double A yet, and the presence of Jose Altuve in Houston means that DeShields is likely to spent at least another 2 years in the minors. There is a lot of risk here, but DeShields has a chance to offer a rare power-speed combination at a premium position in the fantasy game. Even if he doesn’t quite hit expectations offensively and defensively, a potential 50+ SB/year outfielder is nothing to scoff at and would provide a solid return. Buy in confidence and don’t sweat short-term fluctuations in his perceived value; DeShields is likely a more valuable prospect in fantasy leagues than in real life.