83 plate appearances isn’t a very large sample. In fact, it’s a pretty small one. But I wanted to give you all a review of how the Astros 2010 first round pick did in his inaugural professional season. DDJ played two games in the Gulf Coast League before playing his remaining 15 with Rookie-A Greenville in the Appalachian league. Over the short span, he displayed all the tools that made Houston so high on him. First: speed. DeShields stole 5 bases in 6 attempts in just 76 at-bats. Second: range. In fifteen games in CF, he had a range factor 1.95/game. This shows a great potential for the youngster to utilize his speed in the outfield although his 2 errors in just 31 chances show he still has some polishing left. Third: hitting. The first round pick put up a .289/.337/.395 line.
It’s a small sample size and maybe none of those numbers other than his steals jump out at you but keep in mind this is a 17-yr old playing his first ball above the high school level. DeShields will start next year back at Rookie-A, mostly due to his age, but he should progress through the lower levels of the minors pretty quickly.
Houston is in an obvious rebuilding phase and seems dedicated to a ‘youth movement’. I’m skeptical Ed Wade has the patience to see this all the way through but either way, DeShields was drafted for his athleticism, pedigree, and upside. He won’t be in Houston for a few years but if this summer was any kind of sign of what’s to come the Astros have a very special player in DDJ. I expect his fielding to only become smoother, his speed on the base paths to do nothing but continue to excel, and his plate discipline and doubles power to increase. Tracking his progress in his first full season next year will be a lot of fun.