For Delino DeShields, winning in Arizona is just as important as taking the next step in his development.
"I think it's good to finally get a win. We kind of came together this game," the Astros No. 7 prospect said. "Everybody is new to each other. It's taken probably about a week to really get comfortable with the guys. But I feel everyone is getting along and trying to have fun. That's what the game is about."
DeShields, who is trying to get comfortable himself with his new position in center field, went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base to help the Peoria Javelinas hold off the visiting Scottsdale Scorpions, 6-3, on Thursday in the Arizona Fall League.
Previously ranked as Houston's No. 1 second-base prospect, DeShields is in the midst of relearning the outfield, a position he left behind when the Astros transitioned him to second after making him the No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 Draft.
"I feel like I've been out there the past four years, I feel like I haven't even left," he said. "I thought it would take a little more time than it has. Yesterday was my first real game playing center field, and it was weird. 'This is nothing, this feels like home out here.' The transition's been really good. The game's just come to me, it's natural. It's going really well."
DeShields got things going Thursday in the first inning when he led off and drew the first of three consecutive walks from Scottsdale starter Kyle Crick (Giants) before scoring on a passed ball by Andrew Susac (Giants). Cameron Rupp (Phillies) then followed with a line-drive two-RBI double. DeShields singled home Padres first-rounder Cory Spangenberg for a three-run cushion in the second.
"That's good for our offense. If a pitcher's struggling and worrying about throwing strikes, he might leave a cookie for our No. 4 or 5 hitter," said DeShields. "Maybe we had him a little rattled when we got on base. As a base stealer, you're always a little bit in a pitcher's head. That's just what we do, get on base and score runs."
DeShields, who stole 51 bases this season after swiping 101 in 2012, showed off his speed and nabbed second after his RBI single, his second steal of the AFL season. It's part of his game that, he thinks, has developed nicely since making his Minor League debut.
"Pitchers are creatures of habit," DeShields said. "If you watch them when you're not hitting, you can pick up something that a pitcher does. He might come set or release at the same time, every time. It's part of maturing as a base runner, picking up on that little stuff. Little stuff like that can change the game. I've gotten pretty good at that the last couple of years. Every pitcher is different, but they're creatures of habit."
Peoria tacked on two more runs in the seventh when DeShields singled, Spangenberg scored on an error and Nolan Fontana, the No. 8 Astros prospect, doubled home DeShields for a 6-3 lead.
That too is becoming a familiar storyline for DeShields.
"Me and Font, we've hit 1-2 for the last year-and-a-half," he said of Fontana, who batted second Thursday. "He played half a year in [Class A] last year and then we played the full year this year in high-A and we were 1-2. That's just how it's been all year for me. It's comfortable. He knows what I'm going to do when get on base, and I know what he's going to do when he gets on. We know each other very well."
Scottsdale posted two runs in the fourtth when Giants prospect Tommy La Stella doubled home Mason Williams (Yankees) and Susac.
Crick (0-1) took the loss after allowing four runs -- three earned -- on three hits and three walks over two innings. He threw 30 of his 52 pitches for strikes, striking out four.
Royals reliever Angel Baez (1-0) picked up the win despite allowing two runs on four hits and a walk over three innings in relief of starter Johnny Barbato (Padres), who walked four batters and allowed a run while retiring two batters in the first for Peoria.