It hasn’t gotten any attention because of Billy Hamilton’s record-breaking stolen base numbers, but a second prospect cracked triple-digit steals in the minors this season.
Delino DeShields Jr., whose father played 13 seasons in the majors and was once traded straight-up for Pedro Martinez, stole 101 bases in 135 games between two levels of Single-A in the Astros’ farm system.
Like his dad, DeShields Jr. is a second baseman with very good on-base skills and amazing speed, and in addition to all the running the No. 8 overall pick in the 2010 draft hit .287 with a .387 on-base percentage at age 19.
Hamilton broke the all-time minor league record by stealing 155 bases in 132 games and was thrown out 37 times for a success rate of 80.7 percent. By comparison DeShields stole 101 bases and was thrown out 19 times for a success rate of 84.2 percent.
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.