Change Does DeShields Good
ARLINGTON—Sometimes a change of venue is best for a young player, which has held true for current Texas Rangers leadoff man Delino DeShields. At this time in 2014, DeShields was toiling in the Houston Astros organization and unsure about his future, even after Houston selected him eighth overall in the June 2010 Draft.
“Everything was kind of up in the air. Did I think I’d be with the Texas Ranger organization [now]? Not a chance,” DeShields said. “That was probably the biggest surprise for me. I thought I could maybe be here [in the Majors] around this time [in September] if I was with Houston depending on how I did.”
But the young Georgia native never envisioned playing alongside veterans like Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder and Josh Hamilton in 2015 and for a contender.
Last December, DeShields was playing winter ball in Puerto Rico when he found out the Rangers had taken him in the Major League portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Hearing that news wasn’t a big shock, but it also wasn’t something he completely expected.
“Yeah, it was a possibility. Our manager down there [in Double-A Corpus Christi] was saying that people had been calling him and stuff about it, but I thought for sure I was going to get protected after that,” DeShields recalled.
In an interesting twist, reliever David Rollins, a Texas native who DeShields had been teammates with in the minors and was also playing winter ball with last December, also got taken in the Rule 5, Rollins by Seattle. And on August 19 at Globe Life Park, the two former Astro farmhands faced each other with Rollins striking out DeShields on four pitches.
“It was cool. I tipped my cap to him [and] he did the same,” DeShields said. “We’re good friends and I actually took a ball off my shin, which was nice.”
Except for one stint on the 15-day disabled list earlier in the year with a hamstring issue, DeShields has been a consistent presence at the top of the order and in center field for much of 2015, two of his goals all along. “I kind of feel like I’ve brought a lot to the table to help. It’s pretty cool. It’s a good feeling. It’s a blessing for sure and it’s been really fun and it’s been a great opportunity,” DeShields said.
As a rookie, he is subject to rookie rites of passage and is responsible for keeping track of the box holding the fine money for kangaroo court, a role DeShields has handled well according to veteran shortstop Elvis Andrus. “I don’t think he’s lost it. He forgot about it once, but he hasn’t lost it, so he’s fine,” Andrus said. “Usually the clubhouse guys get it [if someone forgets it], but I’ve never seen someone lose it.”