The son of the former like-named major leaguer who spent 13 seasons in the majors. Delino the Elder even appeared in his first big league game during his age 21 season, so his son could have a similar growth curve. Delino the Younger is not built like his dad. At 5-foot-8 and 185 pounds, he's five inches shorter than is dad and 15 pounds heavier. His speed is as legitimate as his dad's, however. Delino the Elder stole 487 bases in the majors and some scouts are already rating Delino the Younger as an 80 runner, which is the highest score they can give that skill.
DeShields is also a running back on his football team and would be a two-sport star in college if he honors his commitment to LSU. His swing is not complicated, with a sort of double toe-tap that helps his timing on the front end. He also does a good job of transferring his weight to his front side, but still generates most of his power with his upper body. Not much video on his defensive skills, but his speed will be his greatest asset there. His arm isn't very strong, but he could be a Michael Bourn-type defender in MMP's spacious center field.
The two main question marks that pop up with DeShields are his build and his makeup. He's 5-foot-8 and that might be generous. There is no general combine to verify heights for prospects in baseball, so we just have to assume that he's shorter than the average baseball player. He's also more compact, with a powerful build that was meant for a running back. That means he's got more power than his dad, but needs to refine his approach at the plate first. The other knock on him is that he's got a lackidaisical approach to the game. His football background has made some teams think he's not as sincere in his dedication. He's also said to take plays or at-bats off on occassion.
With those things in mind, DeShields' floor is pretty low. If his dedication is lacking, he's never going to make strides at the plate it will take to advance through the minor leagues. He'll still have the speed, but since he already has problems hitting offspeed stuff, he'll never hit for average. If all that happens, he turns into a poor man's Willy Taveras.
If all goes right, DeShields could hit 15-20 home runs with Gold Glove defense in center and 50-steal potential. If that doesn't say All-Star, I don't know what will. Though power is his weakest tool, it's still good enough to consider him being a five-tool guy. He'd be the Astros best center field prospect since Kenny Lofton. Actually, Lofton is not a bad ceiling for him, but I'd settle for a career like his father's.
Will the Astros pick him? If so, where?
The question is not if the Astros will pick him, it's when. If Sale is gone at No. 8, the Astros might just grab him then. They'll definitely get a shot at him at No. 19, which is when he's likely to go. The rumors linking the Astros with the Georgia prep star are too great to not be taken seriously. The question in my mind is whether the Astros can move him to second base. With his speed, he'll have the range for the position. He's also a good enough athlete to transition to the infield. His arm won't be stretched out at second and his power will turn from an average tool to above average for the position. It's one of the few scenarios I can see that means the Astros end up with both Josh Sale and DeShields.
Where is he projected to go right now?
Keith Law has him at No. 19 to the Astros.
Andy Seiler does not have him in the first round.
Deep Leagues has him at No. 31 to the Rays.
Jonathan Mayo has him at No. 19 to the Astros.
Perfect Game USA has him at No. 27 to the Phillies.
Baseball America has him at No. 19 to the Astros.
Frankie Piliere does not have him in the first round.
Kevin Goldstein does not have him in the first round.
John Sickels does not have him in the first round.
Bibliography (Scouting Reports and video)
Below the jump.
Article and interview with DeShields at Rivals.com
Delino DeShields Jr. looks little like his father physically, but has inherited a good amount of his dad's baseball talent. DeShields (the younger) is built like a runningback, and is committed to LSU to fill that role. If he was taller than his listed 5'8?, I imagine he'd be a consensus first-round pick.
He has an incredibly simple, quiet swing, very short to the ball, with power from his upper-body strength; he has the swing path to hit for some power but his finish is restricted and he may not get to it when swinging wood. He's one of the fastest runners in this draft and should be a plus defender in center with an average arm.
The major knocks on DeShields are his height and build, both unusual for a position player, and his dedication to baseball, as I've heard from several scouts that earlier in the spring, he would mail in at bats or entire games and didn't give observers any impression that he wanted to play baseball rather than football. He's played harder and better down the stretch and if he indicates that he's signable he'll go in the first or at worst sandwich rounds to a team that's willing to overlook his stature and bet on his bat and legs.