Delino DeShields: Ex-football star sets Houston Astros’ record with 101 steals in a season

Former Woodward Academy two-sport star Delino DeShields, who turned down several D1 football scholarship offers to play professional baseball, set a Houston Astros’ minor-league record by stealing 101 bases in one season on Monday night.

Former Woodward Academy two-sport star Delino DeShields stole 101 bases this season for a Houston Astros' minor-league record (Photo courtesy of Brian Christian)

Former Woodward Academy two-sport star Delino DeShields stole 101 bases this season for a Houston Astros' minor-league record (Photo courtesy of Brian Christian)

DeShields, who was the first Georgia player selected in the 2010 draft at No. 8 overall, stole a pair of bases in Monday’s season-ending game for the Lancaster Jethawks – the Class A advanced affiliate of the Houston Astros.

“I just feel very blessed to be given the ability to reach that accomplishment,” DeShields told the AJC. “You don’t see it very often at all. Previously, I just wanted to do it and get it over with. [Then I] was running kind of crazy – just worried about getting on the bag so much that it distracted me from other things. But as soon as I got [to 100], it was just a huge relief and a blessing.”

DeShields accelerated throughout his second year of pro ball. He swiped 83 bases in 111 games with the Lexington Legends of Class A before earning a promotion to Lanscaster, where he had 18 steals in 23 games. What was the secret behind all those steals?

“Hard work during the offseason to train my body for a long season – and staying healthy,” DeShields said. “God has blessed me in many ways, kept me strong and healthy during this year and gave me the perserverance to overcome my struggles that I went through along the way.

“And yes, being blessed with a combination of speed and explosiveness was a huge reason why I was able to do what I did. And last thing was confidence: I just went out there knowing that I was going to get my bags and it was just a matter of the opponent stopping me or not.”

For the season, DeShields finished with a .287 batting average with 12 homers and 61 RBIs. He is ranked as minor-league baseball’s No. 7 overall prospect at second base by mlb.com. What’s the next stop for DeShields?

“I wish I knew,” DeShields said with a laugh. “But I have no idea what the plans are. I just put it all in the Astros’ hands and just go out and work hard and play hard. Whatever they have in store for me is fine. I haven’t heard anything. I’m still young and still have a lot of work to do, so I’m just going to keep pushing and leave it up to them.”

The 5-foot-9 DeShields, the son of the former major-leaguer by the same name, had football scholarship offers from Stanford, Georgia Tech, Purdue and Ole Miss out of high school.

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9 comments Add your comment

trueUGAfan

September 4th, 2012
10:59 am

Wow!!! Keep up the good work DDJr…expect to see you in the Bigs’ soon…

Ken Stallings

September 4th, 2012
11:20 am

My age was about to show. Clicked on the link to wonder how someone could have termed Delino DeShields a “football star,” but never thought about it being his son!

GA Dawg81

September 4th, 2012
11:54 am

His sister will get lots of headlines herself. One of the best basketball players in the nation.

slydog

September 4th, 2012
12:23 pm

I’m just glad that finally a son of a former start player from GA is finally as good as advertised.

The Rev Jesse J

September 4th, 2012
12:45 pm

What kind of name is Delino?

Top Recruit

September 4th, 2012
2:36 pm

Stealing bases below the show is one thing, but doing that in the show is another. The Astros have openings, lets see if the big league puts in a call in the remaining games. Has had good coaching, but has a draw back…5′9″. Not many in the big league. With that frame can he have the body torque and bat head speed to drive the ball against MLB pitchers? If not, stealing bases will become mute.

Upstate Jacket

September 4th, 2012
4:58 pm

Top Recruit,
Chances are he has not shrunk since the 2010 draft where he was the 8th overall pick!! GMs and scouts that get paid to evaluate talent must have thought he has a chance at the big leagues at 5′9″. A solid defensive 2nd baseman with a good OBP and speed will find a place in the bigs. Not every 2nd baseman has to hit HRs like Cano and Utley. I could go on but it’s not worth my time.

Blue

September 5th, 2012
8:40 am

Top Recruit; is that anything like moot? I didn’t know you had to not be able to speak in order to steal bases. Hey, Pedroia, Bourne, Furcal, Kinzler, Rollins…those enough for you for smaller guys that can play the game?

Gene

September 5th, 2012
10:13 am

I have seen DeShields in a number of games in Lexington over the past two seasons. He can run, but he was a weak hitter in the games I saw. Good luck to him in the future.