The Braves 2022 regular season has begun but GM Alex Anthopoulos is still making moves. On Friday Atlanta signed outfielder Delino DeShields to a minor league contract.
DeShields was immediately assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett following the signing, suggesting that prospect Drew Waters’ hamstring issue is a bit more serious than originally thought. Waters hasn’t played in any of the Stripers four games so far this season, after what reports indicated as some “hamstring soreness” during Spring Training.
DeShields is an experienced major leaguer, having played in 601 career games in the bigs over a span of seven seasons. The 29-year-old sports a career .246 AVG but just 19 home runs, although his speed has allowed him to tally 111 stolen bases as mostly a bench player in The Show.
There’s perhaps some optimism regarding some strides with the bat by DeShields. Playing in 25 games for the Reds last season, the righty-batter posted a career-high 115 wRC+. Until then, DeShields’ best performance in the majors featured a 120-game campaign in 2017 with the Rangers in which he was worth 2.1 fWAR, thanks to a .269 AVG, six homers and 29 stolen bases (86 wRC+). Those six long balls was a single-season high for DeShields.
We’ll see what happens, but this doesn’t seem like great news for Waters, who many believed would compete for a spot in the major league roster this year. If there’s a positive in all this, watching DeShields athleticism in Gwinnett should be fun.