Delino Deshields Jr. is 18. And like most 18 year olds, he did something irresponsible and reckless. In this case, it resulted in police action and his subsequent arrest. Some people continue this behavior long past the age of 18, just ask Tucker Max, Charlie Sheen, or anyone in the NFL. The Astros 2010 first round pick received a DUI, possession of alcohol by a minor, and a traffic violation over the weekend. Many celebrities and athletes receive special treatment due to their notoriety and talents but this isn’t one of those cases. Nor should that ever be the case. But while condoning drunk driving is as ill-advised as the act itself, this lapse in judgment should not cloud a young and still-developing reputation.
While he may seem to have settled into (or adamantly embraced) the big league life style after just 76 professional at-bats, DDJ is still in the process of adjusting to professional pitching and transitioning to second base. The son of former major leaguer Delino Deshields, DD Jr. played centerfield throughout his prep career. But despite his primary position ambiguity he remains within the top-5 of nearly every list ranking the Astros organizational prospects. All prospects should be predicted with the certainty of Stevie Wonder playing Russian Roulette, but given Deshields’ talent and bloodline he has a good chance to be Houston’s starting second baseman in a couple of years. Many fans call for someone’s head after a mistake like this but I strongly disagree. He made a mistake that fortunately did not hurt anyone physically, and has more than enough time to bounce back from this and repair his reputation. This isn’t Delmon Young displaying disrespect for the game and an on-the-field lack of awareness and self-control by throwing a bat an umpire. This isn’t that unknown prospect on the Braves busted for taking part in a prostitution ring illustrating an ongoing sober and pre-meditated disregard for the law and personal conduct. Delino Deshields Jr. made a mistake many 18 year olds make. DDJ doesn’t deserve a pass but he does deserve a second chance. And it has nothing to do with his talents, or the record $2.15 million signing bonus Houston awarded him. It has to do with a human error in judgment.