Born: December 23 1977
Place: San Francisco, CA
How Acquired: Signed out of the Independent League by the Seattle Mariners in 2003
Dustin Delucchi is the positional version of George Sherrill. Not highly touted. Not on anyones draft board. Not to be denied.
Delucchi spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons in the Independent Frontier League and the entire 2002 season in the Northern League with the Lincoln SaltDogs, then followed that with a solid contribution to both the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and the Inland Empire 66ers during the 2003 season. It was clear from the start that the then-25-year-old was a hustler in the form of a Rex Hudler. He had to be. Delucchi isnt blessed with the natural skills of a Jose Lopez or Shin-soo Choo, and that forces him to achieve his best through means of effort and hustle.
Wisconsin welcomed Delucchi on board this season and plugged him into the OF, wound him up and watched him play. From day one his experience was showing in his plate patience, smart base running and solid defensive play.
Delucchi hit just .266 but his secondary numbers were what impressed the organization. One-third of the way into the Midwest League season, Delucchi was sporting a .393 on-base percentage and had superb strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 28/29. The M's thought it was time to challenge Delucchi a bit more and sent him to Inland Empire to help the outfield. Coincidentally, they ended up needing his services when Choo went down with injury shortly following the move. Delucchi was promoted after going 4-9 in the first two games of a series against the Fort Wayne Wizards while with the Rattlers.
The former Arizona State and University of San Francisco outfielder answered the bell with the 66ers of the California League. Delucchi's all-star quality performance for Inland Empire was a pleasant surprise and a key reason why the club won the League Championship.
The lefty hitting outfielder ended the 66ers regular season with a .327 average, added 27 extra-base hits and another great strikeouts-to-walks ratio of 35/36 while hitting primarily in the leadoff spot in his 77 games played.
Expect Delucchi to have a roster spot in Double-A San Antonio in 2004 while he continues his unlikely push to be the surprise of the year again.
TOOLS: Grading Scale
Delucchi has below-average power, but well-above-average plate skills and would have received a much higher grade here if he were a few years younger or coming off of the same performance in Triple-A instead of Single-A. Delucchi is still capable of punching line drives into the gap and ending up at third six or eight times a year.
Delucchi is a bit like Chris Snelling defensively but with better foot speed. Capable of playing all three outfield spots, his best position is left field, where his average arm and slightly better than average range fit the position.
Delucchis base running abilities out-weigh his raw speed and he uses his speed a lot like soon-to-be Hall of Famer Paul Molitor did for 20 years; Intelligently. Not blessed with 40-steal speed or ability, Delucchi should sit in the 15-steal range and often take the extra-base successfully.
MLB ETA: 2006
Prospect Files: Dustin Delucchi
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