Astros' DeShields Finds Formula For Success
HOUSTON—For Delino DeShields
Jr., whose 101 stolen bases between low
Class A and high Class A this year outdid everybody in the history of
the Astros organization and everybody in baseball other than the
otherworldly Billy Hamilton
this year, the formula was three parts.
First there's the speed, which he has always had, even through a rough
first full season in 2011. But add to that much better on-base skills
and the knowledge of how to steal bases, and that's the formula for
DeShields, a 20-year-old second baseman, stole 83 bases at low Class A
Lexington and 18 at high Class A Lancaster. Ultimately, he'd help that
Lancaster team to a California League championship and was named MVP of
the championship after the 5-foot-9, 210-pounder hit a home run in the
"What I really rely on is getting on base and changing the game on the
basepaths, but every now and then I can poke a ball over the fence,"
DeShields said. "You can't go wrong with hitting a couple dingers."
But the speed game is his thing, and now he's refining it.
"It's just paying attention, being in the dugout picking up stuff from
the pitchers and maybe peeking in and looking to see signs and trying to
get a good read on everything," DeShields said.
The ability to better take advantage of opportunities came with more opportunities on the basepaths.
In 2011, he had just a .305 on-base percentage and stole 30 bases for
Lexington. He hit .298/.401/.439 with 10 home runs for Lexington before
finishing the year with a .237/.336/.381 mark with two more homers in
"You can't steal that many bases without having a good approach at the
plate because you're not going to get on that much," general manager
Jeff Luhnow said. "To have a player that can not only get on base and
make things happen on the basepaths, but also deliver power the way he
was able to this year, that combination is really unique."
Luhnow expects the month-plus at high Class A to be enough. DeShields
will start spring training with the Double-A-bound players and while
nothing is guaranteed, he's likely to be in Corpus Christi in 2012.
Maybe even Triple-A Oklahoma City by the end.
"Last year was kind of rough," DeShields said. "My first year playing
second base was a big learning experience for me, and this year I
finally got to put the pieces together and it turned out great."
• Righthander Nick Tropeano
was added to the Astros' Arizona Fall League
contingent, though after a full season he will be limited in his
• The Astros' new affiliation with low Class A Quad Cities reunites
Luhnow with an old affiliate from his days running the Cardinals farm
system, when St. Louis sent its players to Quad Cities.