Woodward Academy’s Delino DeShields has agreed to terms with the Houston Astros and will sign the paperwork on Thursday morning.
DeShields, whose father played 13 years in the major leagues, was the first of five Georgia high schoolers selected in the first round of the June baseball draft. He was taken No. 8 overall by the Astros.
“I’m excited about getting this done, and I’m ready to get going,” DeShields told the AJC on Wednesday night. “I’ve had my summer off like I wanted. Now I’m ready to throw myself into baseball with everything I’ve got.”
DeShields flew to Houston on Wednesday evening, and will meet with team officials on Thursday morning. Terms of the deal have not been revealed, but the recommended bonus for his draft slot is between $2 million and 2.5 million. DeShields will tour the stadium later in the day and then catch a flight to Orlando, where he will participate in extended spring training for a week.
“I won’t be playing any games in Florida, just getting back into baseball shape,” DeShields said.
DeShields, who will be tried at second base by the Astros, will report to the Astros’ rookie team in Greenville, Tenn., within 7-10 days.
Now with DeShields headed to the Astros, the only Georgia first-rounder yet to sign is Cook third baseman Kaleb Cowart, drafted No. 18 by the LA Angels.
Blessed Trinity outfielder Jake Skole (No. 15 to Texas Rangers), East Coweta pitcher Cam Bedrosian (No. 29 to Angels) and Marietta outfielder Chevez Clarke (No. 30 to Angels) signed contracts earlier this summer.
Here is a recent article from the AJC on Cowart:
Cook High’s Kaleb Cowart got a recent pep talk from former Braves’ outfielder J.D. Drew.
Cowart was one of three Georgia high schoolers selected in the first round in June’s of the major league baseball draft by the Los Angeles Angels [and is] torn between MLB and his baseball scholarship to Florida State.
Drew, who now plays with the Boston Red Sox, graduated from Lowndes High School and still lives in the area. His uncle is the pastor of Cowart’s church.
“He [Drew] was like ‘Do what feels right and whatever you decide, let it be a decision by you and your family. Don’t let anyone else make the decision for you,’” Cowart said.
Drew should know. When Philadelphia made him the second player taken in the 1997 draft, he opted to leave FSU and play in an independent minor league team in Minnesota when contract talks with the Phillies broke down.
Cowart has also heard from Bedrosian and Clarke, two longtime friends from summer league. They are both playing with the Angels’ rookie team in Arizona.
“They say it’s a blast,” Cowart said. “It’s in Tempe, near Arizona State University. It’s kind of like you’re getting the college life without the school work. And you get money in your pocket.”
Will that influence Cowart to sign with the Angels?
“Not really,” he said. “They’re having fun, but I’m sure playing at Florida State would be fun, too.
“Either way, it is going to be great. It really is. I’m not going to be upset one way or the other. It’s just like if I hadn’t got picked in the draft, it would still be a great day. I could still go to Florida State and that’s alright because that was my ultimate goal when I first started playing baseball. Whatever happens, happens.”
The Angels have an Aug. 16 deadline to sign Cowart or will lose him to college. The club feels good about the chances of striking a deal with Cowart, who is reportedly seeking a $3-million bonus.
“He’s a guy we want to be an Angel and I’m confident that we’re going to get it done,” said Eddie Bane, the Angels’ scouting director.
Cowart, a switch-hitting third baseman, has been staying in baseball shape by training with friends. He coached at a Christian baseball and softball camp for kids a couple of weeks ago.
“The waiting hasn’t been too bad,” Cowart said. “But it’s anxious and unsettling at times. Sometimes you wish you knew what was going to happen and could just go ahead and pick.”