It's tough to stay on the pedestal in the DeShields family these days. With mom Tisha DeShields in attendance Saturday night, Delino DeShields did his best to keep up.
The Astros' No. 6 prospect went 3-for-5 with three stolen bases and a pair of runs scored as the Lancaster JetHawks shut down the High Desert Mavericks, 3-1.
Tisha saw her son often last season when he played in the South Atlantic League, which is considerably closer to the DeShields' Georgia home. This year, visits to see Delino play will be fewer, especially with his sister, Diamond DeShields, traveling the U.S. as one of the nation's top high school players.
"Now I'm playing across the country and she's traveling with [Diamond]," Delino DeShields said.
DeShields did his best to impress his mother. Two of his hits came in leadoff situations. In the third inning, the 20-year-old second baseman reached on an infield single, stole second base and scored easily on Nolan Fantana's triple to snap a 1-1 tie.
In the fifth, he again led off with a single, this time a grounder up the middle. Again, DeShields promptly stole second.
DeShields' speed is his greatest asset and he tailors his game to take advantage. He stole 101 bases in 135 Minor League games last season, and his judgments and skills on the basepaths are only sharpening with experience.
"I'm not a guy who's just going to run to run," DeShields explained. "It depends on the situation in the game, what's on the scoreboard, everything. I'm just trying to put myself in position to score. If the pitcher's giving it away, I'm going to take advantage.
"There are a bunch of different ways to be effective on the basepaths. I like running, but I have to be smart doing it, too. I don't want to be thrown out in clutch situations. I have to be mindful and take what the game gives me. That's just how I play."
His development at the plate over the past year has reflected striking improvement. After struggling in 2011 in the South Atlantic League, DeShields returned to Lexington to start last season and hit .298 with a .401 on-base percentage in 111 games.
The performance earned him a late-season callup to Lancaster, where he batted .237 in 24 games while adjusting to California League pitching.
"They throw off-speed in hitter's counts here," he said. "They don't do that in Low-A. Just because of the league, there are no 2-0 fastballs down the middle; those go 500 feet with the wind. Even in 3-2 counts, they'll throw off-speed to get you off-balanced.
"I learned that last year and came into this year more prepared. I'm not going to get fooled on that kind of stuff. I know what to expect."
DeShields is 5-for-13 with a couple of extra-base hits through three games this year. His approach is still evolving, and the son of the former Major Leaguer by the same name is confident in his abilities as a table-setter.
"Leading off a game, I try to see as many pitches as possible, but I still stay in my approach," he said. "I just try to find a way on base, it doesn't matter how. Could be a walk, a hit, it doesn't matter.
"As long as I'm on base, I can use my legs and be productive in some kind of way. I can put pressure on pitchers and defenses with me on base because I'm a runner."