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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

WaPo: Ian Desmond notches a milestone in a career year

Desmond sure has come a long way from the “can he hold onto a starting role this season?” questions in Spring Training

It’s reached the time of the year when Nationals players in the midst of the best seasons of their careers hit milestones. And few players have shown as much growth and progress that Ian Desmond has this season. When he stole his 20th base of the season in the fifth inning of Monday’s 12-2 rout of the Milwaukee Brewers, the 27-year-old become only the second Nationals player to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season. [...]

And thanks to his recent hitting streak, Desmond raised his batting average to a team-high.301, his on-base percentage to .340, slugging percentage to a team-high.526 and a team-high OPS of .866.

Based on Fangraphs.com wins above replacement formula (WAR), Desmond is 19th in the majors with a team-high 5.2 WAR, a high number that takes into account the difficulty of his position. He leads all major league shortstops in home runs (24), RBI (71) and OPS despite missing 25 games in July and August with an oblique injury.

The numbers are both stellar and surprising for a player who struggled at the plate last season and had yet to completely fulfill his prodigious talent. Now Desmond, already a team leader, is perhaps the Nationals most valuable position player, an elite shortstop and an all-star. [...]

Desmond has previously credited [manager Davey] Johnson for instilling confidence in him that helped spark his breakout season. And while he only passingly acknowledged his achievement Monday, he again spoke highly about the impact Johnson had on him before his breakout season.

“When Davey came in in spring training and was like, ‘Hey, you’re going to play every single day and I don’t care what you do. You’re out there. You’re my shortstop no matter what,’” Desmond said. “That was, to me, like a multi-year contract. That was all I needed to, someone’s word, to say, ‘Hey, you’re the guy.’”

Esoteric Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:41 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals, washington

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   1. Esoteric Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:01 PM (#4245536)
So is there anyone out there who actually thinks Desmond has truly taken his game to the next level? Because if this is his new normal, he's Derek Jeter with actual defensive capability. And, also, the best all-around shortstop in baseball.
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:26 PM (#4245581)
I've always liked Desmond. This is almost certainly a career year but I would say he probably has improved his game in legitimate ways. Knock off a bit of power (15 HR/.150-.170 ISO) and that's still a .270/.320/.430 shortstop with a decent glove and 20-25 stolen bases. I'd take that player.
   3. Bourbon Samurai Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:33 PM (#4245593)
Have to admit I was totally wrong about Desmond. I would've been happy for them to trade him and go with Espinosa at short and Lombardozzi at second.
   4. Greg K Posted: September 25, 2012 at 06:37 PM (#4245648)
So is there anyone out there who actually thinks Desmond has truly taken his game to the next level? Because if this is his new normal, he's Derek Jeter with actual defensive capability. And, also, the best all-around shortstop in baseball.

Who are the contenders?
Asdrubal, Aybar, Desmond?
Can cases be made for guys like Castro and JJ Hardy?
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 25, 2012 at 06:40 PM (#4245650)
So is there anyone out there who actually thinks Desmond has truly taken his game to the next level?

Well, until someone actually does it year-after-year, it's just opinion, but Desmond looks like a good bet for All-Star level production, IMHO.
   6. Greg K Posted: September 25, 2012 at 07:11 PM (#4245668)
TOO LATE TO EDIT: oof, I hadn't noticed Hardy's .277 OBP this year. He's a bit out of place in that group.
   7. AROM Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:31 PM (#4245711)
"Asdrubal, Aybar, Desmond?"

Has Reyes fallen so far so fast?
   8. ThisElevatorIsDrivingMeUpTheWall Posted: September 26, 2012 at 07:52 AM (#4245944)
So no one thinks Tulo can stay healthy?
   9. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 26, 2012 at 08:05 AM (#4245953)
it seems like a lot of folks are down on castro who is still only 22, has played 150 plus games the last two seasons, has ops plus over 100, line drive power, can run and his defense looked a lot better this year.

andrus and escobar are two american league guys who could still get better though with andrus it's several years running where his ops plus isn't any good.

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