Minor Matters: Delino DeShields Junior Running Wild
Delino DeShields Jr. could be the leadoff man in Houston one day.
With the season now a few weeks old, it’s time we checked in on the minor leagues to see who’s catching our eye.
A name that has to be familiar to anyone not brand spanking new to the game is Delino DeShields Jr., a second baseman (just like his pop) in the Astro organization.
Houston’s first rounder from 2010 is still over three months shy of his 20th birthday, yet he’s in his third professional season already.
DeShields Jr.’s on-base skills and stolen base prowess were immediately evident in his first taste of the Appalachian League in 2010, but he struggled to a .220 BA in his first try at full-season ball in the Sally last year.
This year, DeShields Jr. is repeating the Sally – with much better results. After going yard (a tie-breaking jack that led Lexington to the win) and scoring two runs with two steals Friday, he’s now hit safely in five straight games. DeShields Jr. is flashing a bit more gap power, but it’s all about speed with him and an 18-for-18 performance on the basepaths through 27 games speaks directly to his chief weapon.
Combine that with much better batting zone judgment this season and you can see that this youngster could be ready for a move to High-A Lancaster of the California League by mid-season.
A line-drive hitter, DeShields Jr. isn’t expected to ever hit for pop, but he’s already packed 35 pounds onto his 5’9” frame since being drafted out of high school, so perhaps he’ll develop modest power – or maybe just a not-sot-modest gut.
No, for this kid, it’s his ability to create chaos on the basepaths that will be his ticket to advancement and has him positioned to be Houston’s potential leadoff man of the future.
The jury is still out here whether DeShields Jr. will be half the player his dad was, but he definitely brings a similar skill set to the table.
- After his crazy good 25-game debut at Triple-A last season, Adeiny Hechavarria has failed to duplicate those numbers so far this season. But that’s no real shock, because no one could have kept up that kind of pace (.389). He was so hot down the stretch that we thought the Jays might call him up when Yunel Escobar got hurt in September. Still, Hechavarria went 2-for-4 with a run and a ribbie Friday to jack his BA up to .290. He’s been sputtering a bit lately, so it was nice to see him have a solid game. The 23-year-old shortstop has scored a whopping 25 runs in 28 games, is showing nice extra-base pop, has been productive and has improved his walk rate. His offensive development buoys hopes that Hechevarria will be more than just a top-notch fielder and perhaps prompt the Jays to divest themselves of the struggling Escobar.
- Jorge Reyes, who first gained prominence with a big showing in the Cape Cod League in 2009, showed really nice progress last year at Double-A, going 10-3 with a 3.12 ERA and fine control. Despite the fact that he trended from an extreme groundball pitcher towards a more neutral ratio hurler, he wasn’t burned by the long ball. This year, however, things have been very different for the Padres’ 2009 17th rounder. In his first taste of Triple-A, Reyes is surrendering more fly balls than ground balls for the first time in his career and they are leaving the park – five times in his last three starts alone. Reyes was burned for five runs in the first two innings Thursday and although he stuck around for 5 1/3 IP, he was shelled for 11 hits and six runs in suffering his PCL-leading fifth loss in six starts. The Padres have really improved their farm system in recent years, and less than a year ago – when he was named a mid-season All-Star in the Texas League – Reyes looked like a big part of that, but the 24-year-old righty has taken a step back so far this season. If Reyes can rediscover his groundball ways, his results should improve, but until then, there’s little reason to track him.
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