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.
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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– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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