The Big Mac Blog

Texas Rangers in contention largely because of a Rule 5 guy

No player on the Rangers has been a bigger surprise than Delino DeShields.
No player on the Rangers has been a bigger surprise than Delino DeShields. Star-Telegram

Prince Fielder, my guy Mitch Moreland and Adrian Beltre receive most of the national love for your Texas Rangers professional baseball team, but this thing isn’t flying without Delino DeShields, who wins the Rangers’ We Would Be Dead Without This Guy trophy.

Of the many moves Rangers GM Jon Daniels made in the offseason, throwing DeShields against the wall was his largest prayer, and biggest hit. JD acquired Delino DeShields in the Rule 5 Draft in the offseason from the Houston Astros, and absolutely no one saw this coming.

“I do like to play with a chip on my shoulder and proving a lot of people wrong,” he told me.

Done and done.

BTW - He goes by Delino DeShields rather than Delino Deshields Jr., which he is. His father played 13 seasons in the major leagues, and was very much like his kid - a little short, and fast. DeShields told me that not going by Jr. is nothing more than he just wants to make his own name. The two get along fine.

DeShields, a former first round pick, is the leadoff batter who is doing the type of things both at the plate and in the field that Leonys Martin and Shin Soo Choo were supposed to do. The Rangers would not be where they are today, which is very much in the playoff and AL West race, without a Rule 5 guy.

He has given Rangers manager Jeff Banister speed at the top of the order, and an outfielder that can cover the necessary ground in center.

In 90 games, DeShields is batting .259 with 15 doubles, seven triples, two home runs, 26 RBI, an on base percentage of .353 with 22 stolen bases. He has been caught stealing six times.

When the Rangers decided to keep DeShields on the 25-man roster coming out of spring training, I thought it reeked of a desperate move. Rule 5 draft acquisitions must be on the big league team, or they are sent back to their original organization. He would have gone back to the minors had he returned to the Astros.

“Coming into (pro baseball) I hoped to play for the team that drafted me. A guy told me, ‘Everybody from the coaches down to the front office, we are really playing for 29 other teams,’” he said. “It was weird to hear but it’s the truth.”

I thought the Rangers would find a reason to send him to the disabled list, and then to an extended minor league assignment before he joined the team after an injury to a regular.

Nothing DeShields had done in his time with the Astros suggested he was ready for a regular spot. Color all of us dead wrong that thought this was a bomb move.

This is his first season in the major leagues, and at 23 this production should only increase. His play puts a guy like former Cuban prize Leonys Martin in serious jeopardy to remain with the club.

“People see me as whatever - I just wanted to make a name for myself and create my own path,” he said. “Maybe I’ve done that. This is the ultimate goal was to be in the big leagues and I’m here.”

The Rangers would not be “here” without him.