Delino DeShields Close To A Roster Spot
DeShields is battling Carlos Peguero, Jake Smolinski, among others for what is presumed to be the final bench spot on the teams 25 man roster. Peguero has had a terrific Spring hitting .387/.472/.548/1.021. He has 12 hits, three for extra bases, in 36 plate appearances. DeShields hasn’t fared as well, slashing .194/.219/.323/.541 with just six hits in 32 plate appearances.
Smolinski has also done well slashing .333/.400/.556/.956 with 12 hits in 40 plate appearances, five of those being for extra bases while face slightly better pitching than both DeShields and Peguero. Smolinski also has his short stint in the big leagues last year in his favor. He hit .349/.391/.512/.903 in 24 games.
DeShields has had his troubles on the bases and in the field as well. He’s been caught stealing twice, including trying to swipe third base with Adrian Beltre at bat and stealing second after leading off the 10th inning with a single against the Reds a few nights ago. DeShields also made an ill-advised dive for a ball in centerfield in which he missed the ball by at least four full feet.
So why does DeShields seem to have the upper hand? Simple – he’s versatile, and speedy.
DeShields would primarily be used as a backup centerfielder, play second base in an absolute pinch, and pinch runner in late inning situations. DeShields could also be used as a platoon DH with Mitch Moreland if Moreland struggles against Southpaws at the plate.
Carlos Peguero has had a pretty good spring, however, spring training stats should never be used as a measuring stick to how good or bad a player really is. See Choice, Michael 2014 Spring Training stats.
The thing that could be holding back Peguero is that he is left handed and he is limited to a DH/COF (corner outfield) spot. With Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland, and Shin-Soo Choo all being left handed hitting DH, 1B, and COF options, he would be used very sparingly at the big league level.
Peguero could be a left handed bat off the bench since the team doesn’t theoretically have one if the bench consists of Adam Rosales, Carlos Corporan, DeShields, and say Jake Smolinski. You drop Smolinksi and add Peguero to that group and that is your bench. For what it’s worth, that is Evan Grant’s guess as to what happens.
@ShutdownInning My guess would be no Smolinski. But that’s just a guess.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) March 27, 2015
So, while DeShields may not have earned a spot on the team in the conventional sense, or in the fans eyes, his wheels, versatility, and upside may have won him a spot by default.
DeShields has never played above AA, so his transition will be a learning one. There will be ups and downs to this experiment. If he fails, then you can bring up Peguero or Smolinksi and roll with one of them at that point. It’s worth the risk on DeShields to at least see what he can provide.
I personally feel like Smolinski will get the nod over Peguero, but hey, that’s just me.
I just hope for all of ours sake that he doesn’t actually wear the #7 jersey. Long Live Pudge! Retire that thing already.