Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is Delino Deshields Anything More Than A One Trick Pony?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Delino Deshields saw his value rebound in 2017, though it took some time for him to find a starting role.  When injuries and inability opened up playing time, he proved capable of making an impact for those in fantasy leagues:

376 At Bats
.269 Batting Average (101 Hits)
6 Home Runs
22 RBI
75 Runs
29 Stolen Bases
.347 On Base Percentage
.367 Slugging Percentage
.358 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Obviously, with his speed (he tied for seventh in the league in SB, despite the limited AB) he is capable of maintaining an elevated BABIP.  You could argue that this is a little bit too high, and that puts the focus on his strikeout rate.  For a non-power leadoff hitter a 24.8% strikeout rate is simply unacceptable, though the reason for the bloated mark isn’t quite as clear.

With such a strikeout rate we’d expect to see poor plate discipline, but that’s simply not the case:

  • SwStr% – 8.3%
  • O-Swing% – 22.2%

Both of those marks are far below league average (10.4%, 29.9% respectively), so why the above average strikeout rate (league average was 21.6%)?  You can argue that he’s too patient, as his 39.0% Swing% would’ve been the eighth lowest mark if he had enough AB to qualify.  Over the past three seasons he’s posted a 38.8% Swing%, so it’s hard to envision things changing now.

Considering his strikeout rate at Triple-A (24.1% in 207 AB in ’16), we can’t expect a significant improvement there as well.  With the elevated strikeout rate coupled with the relative lack of power, he simply may not be capable of posting an attractive average (.267 career hitter in the minors).

As a source of stolen bases there is going to be value, assuming that he maintains a starting role.  That simply isn’t a given, as the Rangers already have to find spots for veteran bats (as well as Willie Calhoun) and could look to retool this offseason.  He’s an easy flier if you are in need of some speed, but he’s not going to be a trustworthy option.  He’s a relative one trick pony (maybe two, as he could score some runs) and even if he opens the year in the lineup he’s never going to be a lock to keep it.

Speed is a commodity, so he’ll be worth targeting, but he isn’t going to be more than a late round flier.

Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Reference

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