Woodward Academy coach Jim Minor discusses No. 8 overall pick Delino DeShields Jr. in a Q&A

Woodward Academy High School coach Jim Minor recently took the time to discuss his former standout Delino DeShields Jr., selected 8th overall in this year’s draft by the Houston Astros.

DA: I want to
congratulate you on Delino being drafted.

JM: Well
thank you. That’s real exciting to have a player chosen in the first
round like that. It actually brought tears to my eyes, to be honest
with you.

DA: Have you had any
other players come out of Woodward?

JM: We
haven’t had anybody come out in the first round. We had a catcher two
years ago that was drafted, but he was drafted down in the 32
round. His name’s Brandon Miller. He was drafted by the Red Sox.

DA: What has it been
like to coach Delino?

JM: Well
he’s a tremendous athlete and a tremendous player, and it’s been a
pleasure to have somebody on your team like that. A lot of teams in
our region, teams that know us, in his junior and senior year people

tried to pitch around him. Which is smart, it’s what I would have
done too (laughs). So a lot of times in ballgames people might throw
him four straight balls and he walks, steals second, steals third,
and manufactures a run. He had some big games for us where he’d hit a
big home run, but a lot of times people tried to be super careful
with him because he was a good hitter.

DA: Did you know that
you had a special player from day one?

JM: When
he was 12 years old, Baseball America picked him as the number one
12-year-old in the nation. Of course the history with his dad playing
professional ball, we knew he was going to be something special all
along. He’s got tremendous speed, tremendous strength. He’s just a
well-rounded athlete.

DA: How excited was
Delino to hear his name on draft day?

wasn’t really there on draft day. I called the family, his dad and
mom, and of course Delino too, and talked to all three of them
shortly after he was drafted. Believe it or not I was actually at a
baseball practice with the summer team trying to get home to see it.
I couldn’t get away from the practice. I really didn’t expect him to
go quite that quick. But that was exciting.

DA: What can the
Astros expect from Delino DeShields Jr.?

JM: I’ve
never seen an athlete that has the type of acceleration and can run
the way he can. He’s got tremendous speed, and I think he’s going to
hit for average and power. I think they got a real, well-rounded
player. I understand they’re planning on playing him at second base
in the organization. He played third base for us his sophomore year,
and probably had the best year at the plate he had in his career. He
had about .590 his sophomore year, and then people found out who he
was. They knew the name, but they didn’t know how good he was. Of
course, people were pitching to him as a sophomore, then his junior
and senior year people stopped pitching to him. He still hit .450 his
senior year, so he still had a good year but not the type of year he
had his sophomore year. So he played third base for us his sophomore
year, then the next year we lost a real good center fielder and with
his speed and all, we thought [Delino] would be a perfect match for
center field. And he did well out there, but he didn’t really have a
great feel for it, so we brought him back to third base for the
second half of the season. And then his senior year he went back out
to center field for us. He’s played a lot of places; he may have even
caught when he was younger. He’s a good enough athlete where he can
play anywhere on the baseball field. So I think [the Astros] have got
a very versatile guy, and a guy with tremendous speed who I think is
going to hit for both average and power as a pro player.

DA: What kind of
influence has his father (former major-leaguer Delino Sr.) had on

JM: His
dad was always around, at least for many years. His dad’s a great
guy. He really knew the game, he’d come out and help us some. But he
never interfered. He and I got to be great friends. You’d think maybe
a major-leaguer would be pushy coming out to practice, but he’d just
fit in and work with the kids. We were always on the same page.
Delino’s junior year, his dad took a coaching job in Cincinnati,
where he was an assistant with the rookie team (which he is now
managing). So I think that hurt Delino a little bit not having his
dad along, but it didn’t hurt him too bad because he got drafted in
the first round! (Laughs) But his dad [being there] was always a
plus. They’ve got a good relationship, and obviously his dad’s
coached him all the way through, working with all his summer teams as
he was coming up and all those kind of things.

For more on Delino DeShields Jr. and other Astros news, check out Crawfish Boxes

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