Saturday, July 19, 2014

Rafael DeLima, Not Typical - 191

Originally posted Sept. 6, 2011; Updated July 2014
The Twins were looking for a different kind of outfielder. They were also looking directly at Rafael DeLima, according to The Orlando Sentinel.

"Our typical outfielder has been a big, home run hitting type," Twins GM Andy MacPhail told The Sentinel in May 1988. "What we need is someone who can drive a ball hard to the gaps and someone who excels in all phases of the game, and DeLima may be just that player."

DeLima that year was in his third professional season, making it, at that point, to AA Orlando. But, while DeLima might have been a different type of outfielder, he couldn't be that in the majors. He got as high as AAA, but couldn't get higher.

DeLima's career began in 1986, signed by the Twins out of his native Venezuela. He played that first year between rookie Elizabethton and single-A Kenosha, hitting just .187 between them.

He returned to Kenosha for 1987, getting his average up to .273, while hitting nine home runs. For 1988, he made AA Orlando, hitting .286 with three home runs. He also helped earn a spot at AAA Portland for 1989.

With Portland, DeLima hit .274 in 127 games. In 1990, he stayed at Portland, but got into just 61 games and hit just .201.

He took a step backward for 1991, going back to AA Orlando. He hit .249 with four home runs. He hit one of those home runs in a May game, a walk-off in the bottom of the 11th against Birmingham.

"All I wanted to do was get solid wood on the ball," DeLima told The Sentinel. "I was thinking basehit and a tie game. I got more than I expected - a lot more than I expected."

In August, DeLima hit a home run in both ends of a double header as Orlando swept.

"My swing lately has not been as quick as I would like it to be, but tonight I was seeing the ball very well and was able to get the head of the bat out in front," DeLima told The Sentinel. "I'm not a home-run hitter, but tonight I just was able to make good contact."

DeLima returned to Orlando in 1992, but for just 19 games. His playing career finally ended in 1995, and 10 games at AAA Ottawa.

By 2002, DeLima was named the Phillies' Venezuelan Summer League coordinator. He's served as the team manager since 2005. For 2014, DeLima is serving as an assistant coach with the Gulf Coast Phillies.

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