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Delino Deshields Jr: Most Improved Player of the Year

The Houston Astros have been pretty rough this season.

If you are like me, you’ve taken solace in embracing our stars of the future and began following the Astros minor league system.

Since the start of the Jeff Luhnow Era, there have been a variety of occurrences which are reason for excitement around the city of Houston. Kevin Goldstein, one of my favorite minor league writers, was brought in to help out with the future of our farm system.

Many of the major league players have been shipped to other cities with hopes of pursuing a World Series ring while the Astros received an abundance of  prospects in return. The Astros farm system is now ranked 12th overall by MLB.com

Of course, many of our talents came through the draft. Hundreds of players are chosen every year, many of which will never get a taste of the big time. But for a lucky few, they will someday take the field at a big league ball park with their last name on the back of their jersey and begin their pursuit of a career to be remembered.

Former first round pick Delino DeShields Jr. was chosen by the Astros and began his career in 2010. With high hopes going into 2011, Deshields underachieved and had some who follow the team closely questioning whether or not we made the correct selection to bring him aboard.

In 119 games at Class A in 2011, Deshields struggled with a .222 average, 30 stolen bases, and 104 hits.

In 2012, Deshields sang a different tune and justified his first round selection.

In 135 games at A and A+ this year, Deshields hit .286 while swiping 102 bases, an improvement of 72 free bags. Had it not been for the Reds speedster Billy Hamilton and his record setting year, Deshields’ stolen base total would have been a much larger story.

Deshields has improved his plate discipline as well, drawing over 80 walks this year compared to the ’11 campaign when he was put on first only 52 times. His extra base hit total as well as his home runs also improved.

In a system which is quickly improving, Delino DeShields Jr. made the largest improvement for any prospect I have watched this year.

His confidence has clearly improved and he now appears to be on track to someday call Minute Maid Park home. His OPS has climbed over 100 points and is now well over .700, substantially better than his .631 mark of 2010.

When the Astros return to their competitive nature in a few years, it appears that Deshields will be playing a huge role in hopefully bringing a title back to the city of Houston.

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