Delino DeShields Jr.’s first weekend as a member of the Red Sox organization was certainly an eventful one.
After being included in a rare post-July trade that saw him go from the Rangers to the Sox this past Thursday, DeShields quickly reported to Triple-A Worcester and made his WooSox debut against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in Moosic, Pa. the following day.
Starting in center field and batting out of the two-hole, the speedy outfielder reached base three times, going 2-for-5 at the plate with a walk, strikeout, and stolen base — though he was picked off as well — as part of Worcester’s 4-3 victory over Scranton in 11 innings at PNC Field.
On Saturday, DeShields once again started in center field and batted second for the WooSox, though this time he was playing behind a rehabbing Chris Sale in what would turn out to be the ace left-hander’s final rehab start.
While the 28-year-old was unable to contribute offensively in the WooSox’ 2-1 win, he did have a front-row seat to Sale tossing 4 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball while scattering just two hits and three walks to go along with eight strikeouts on the night.
Finally, we arrive at Sunday afternoon’s series finale against the RailRiders. While the WooSox may have ultimately dropped the finale by a final score of 4-3, DeShields took responsibility for all three of the runs his side scored.
Once more starting in center field and batting behind leadoff man Yairo Munoz, the right-handed hitter enjoyed yet another multi-hit day at the plate, as he went 2-for-4 with a double, a home run, a season-high three RBI, one run scored, and one strikeout.
After the RailRiders jumped out to an early 2-0 lead against WooSox starter Kutter Crawford, DeShields came through with a game-tying, two-run home run off Scranton starter Matt Krook with two outs in the top of the sixth inning — marking his first home run in a WooSox uniform as well as Worcester’s very first hit of the day.
Fast forward to the eighth, with Chad De La Guerra drawing a leadoff walk against RailRiders reliever Nick Green and Munoz advancing him to third (and extending his hitting streak to a historic 30 straight games), DeShields delivered in the clutch a second time.
On the fifth pitch he saw from Green, DeShields nearly left the yard again, but instead settled for a ground-rule double that hopped over the fence in left-center field and brought in De La Guerra from third while advancing Munoz an additional 180 feet.
That two-base hit put the WooSox ahead 3-2, though they would ultimately lose that one-run lead rather quickly with Kaleb Ort allowing two runs in the bottom half of the eighth before Worcester went down quietly in the ninth.
Even while the WooSox were unable to close out the series on a positive note on Sunday, DeShields still proved to be productive in his first weekend with Worcester by going 4-for-14 (.286) with a double, a home run, three RBI, one run scored, one stolen base, one walk, and four strikeouts over his first three games with the affiliate.
DeShields, who turns 29 later this month, was originally selected by the Astros in the first round of the 2010 amateur draft out of Woodward Academy (College Park, Ga.).
The son of longtime big-leaguer Delino DeShields, Junior spent the first four years of his professional career in the Astros organization before being scooped up by the Rangers in the 2014 Rule 5 Draft.
Making his major-league debut for Texas the following April, the 5-foot-9, 190 pounder became a key cog in the Rangers’ outfield picture, as he appeared in 100 0r more games and stole 20 or more bases in four out five seasons with the club from 2015 through 2019.
In December 2019, DeShields — as well as pitching prospect Emmanuel Clase — was dealt to the Indians from the Rangers in exchange for right-hander Corey Kluber.
DeShields’ tenure with Cleveland wound up being short-lived, as he did not make his Indians debut until early August last year and was ultimately non-tendered over the winter before re-upping with the Rangers on a minor-league deal back in February.
After failing to make the Rangers’ Opening Day roster out of spring training, DeShields was assigned to Triple-A Round Rock and slashed a modest .263/.392/.368 over 66 games with the Express prior to him being traded to the Red Sox in exchange for cash considerations.
The reason Boston was able to acquire a player such as DeShields in the wake of the July 30 trade deadline is due to the fact that the veteran outfielder was not on Texas’ 40-man roster and had yet to accrue any major-league playing time so far this season.
With the Red Sox recently promoting top outfield prospect Jarren Duran and losing fellow outfield prospect Marcus Wilson to the Mariners on waivers, the addition of DeShields provides the club with experienced upper-minors outfield depth in the event of an injury or something of the sort.
That being said, if the Sox were to qualify for the postseason this fall, DeShields would be eligible for the playoffs so long as he is added to Boston’s major-league roster by September 15 and remains there for the final weeks of the regular season.
Of course, it is no sure thing that a. the Red Sox will secure a postseason spot, or b. the Red Sox view DeShields as someone who can contribute at the big-league level this season.
Still, it goes without saying that the acquisition of DeShields — as well as the timing of it — is certainly intriguing.
(Picture of Delino DeShields Jr.: Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)