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.
The Red Sox and Mariners left nothing on the table Friday night, going head-to-head in a series opener that eventually ended 14-10 in the Sox’ favor. Led by Steven Wright and Wade LeBlanc — neither of whom made it past the fifth inning — the teams combined for 34 hits and four home runs, including two moonshots from Seattle’s Nelson Cruz and a five-run rally that gave Boston the edge in the seventh.
In the sixth inning, however, the Red Sox were still scrambling to make up a four-run deficit. Left fielder J.D. Martinez cut it in half with one swing, pouncing on an 89.5-mph fastball from Seattle right-hander Nick Vincent and posting it to dead center field for a two-run shot.
The 427-foot blast was Martinez’s 23rd of the season, tying Mike Trout for the most home runs in the league this year. While he still has a ways to go before eclipsing the career-best 45-HR mark he set in 2017, he’s off to a strong start this season: Entering Friday’s game, the 30-year-old slugger was batting .315/.386/.623 with a 1.009 OPS and AL-leading 55 RBI in 308 PA. He finished Friday’s game 4-for-5 with five RBI, just one triple shy of hitting for the cycle.
Heading into the All-Star Break, both Martinez and Trout still have some competition for the home run title. Jose Ramirez is sitting at 22 homers, while Nelson Cruz and Khris Davis are tied at 20 apiece.