BLUF: Potential for three plus tools that can impact the game and make him an above-average to plus player.
The Player: Delino DeShields (2B, Houston Astros) – Son of former big leaguer Delino DeShields and was drafted eighth overall by the Astros in 2010. Played 119 games for Low-A Lexington in 2011 and struggled to a .220/.305/.322 line with 30 stolen bases. Improved significantly in his 2012 return to the South Atlantic League, posting a .298/.401/.439 line in 111 games with 22 doubles, ten home runs and 83 stolen bases. Hit just .237 with 18 steals in 24 games after promotion to High-A late in the season.
Basis of Report: Compilation –Industry Contacts
Body (5-9, 200): Short, squat body with good strength and supreme athleticism. Thicker than you’d expect given his bloodlines. Size isn’t a deterrent given position and skill set.
Hit: Advanced approach for his age. Recognizes pitches well. Chases breaking balls out of the zone on occasion. Excellent bat speed with quick trigger. Hands work really well, keeping swing compact and short to the ball. Uses entire field well and has strength/bat speed to hit line drives to all fields. Speed plays well in offensive game, allows for some infield hits. Potential plus hitter with some plus-plus potential because of approach and feel for hitting. Still has a ways to go. Grade – 30/60
Power: No better than gap power with 8-12 home runs at peak. Should accumulate 30+ doubles because of strength and speed already present in game. Not a significant part of package. Grade (raw power) – 20/30
Arm: Doesn’t always get a ton on throws, particularly on pivot. Below-average arm strength that is just enough for second base and could play in center field if glove doesn’t come. Grade – 40/40
Fielding: Explosively quick on the infield. Dramatically improved range in 2012 with better instincts. Has plus-plus range to both sides. Hands are rapidly improving and he makes most plays cleanly, particularly to glove side. Has raw tools to be a plus glove at second base. Backup of CF because of running ability. Grade – 40/60
Speed: Has slowed as a pro but still a true 70-grade runner with explosive and dynamic speed. Base stealing instincts are a bit rough but can steal on raw speed alone. Potential to have speed be a major impact on the field. Already impacts game but could improve. Tremendous, explosive speed. Grade – 70/70
Summation: Good bloodlines. Premium athlete with multiple explosive tools and impact potential at a non-traditional impact position. Rough defensively but improving consistently with plus potential long term. Excellent range and solid hands. Just enough arm for tough throws demanded by the position. Potential overall plus with the glove. Near elite speed that should be maintained with physical maturity. Has hitting ability and enough pop to get the ball in the gaps. Can hit .290+ with 30 doubles and 70 stolen bases annually. Impact potential at the top of a big-league lineup. Raw and will require time. Plus overall potential.
Relative Risk: High. Still remains raw, despite bloodlines and needs to continue developing.
Future: Struggled in a late-season promotion to High-A and should return to the California League in 2013 where he could put up impressive offensive numbers. Bat and glove have potential to make huge strides next year and he could be nearly big-league ready by the end of 2015 and in the lineup every day in 2016.