Washington Nationals: The Metamorphosis of Ian Desmond

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Lets’s compare Washington Nationals players, see if you can name the player.

Player 1: .261/.302/.375, 18 home runs and 114 RBIs.

Player 2: .284/.323/.506, 39 home runs and 118 RBIs.

Would you believe that it’s the same player? Well, believe it, because those stats are from Ian Desmond‘s first two full seasons (player 1) and his last season and a half (player 2). Over the course of a year and a half, Desmond has gone from a player many thought would eventually be moved to the outfield because of shaky defense at shortstop and other players rising though Washington’s system to a superstar that Washington needs to lock up quickly.

If someone told you Desmond would be an All Star and a Silver Slugger Award winner at Shortstop after his first two years, you probably would have welcomed it, but would you have believed it to be possible? Yeah, neither would I. Desmond was, at one point, the bane of many Nationals fans existence, always making errors at the worst possible times while striking out or ruining a potential rally. Now, he’s carrying the team offensively and has risen to be a leader on a young team.

Desmond was drafted in the third round of the 2004 draft when Washington was still the Montreal Expos, as Desmond and Roger Bernadina are the only two remaining players from the Expos era. After spending five years in Washington’s Minor League system, batting a combined .259/.326/.388 Desmond made his Major League Debut in 2009 and went 2-4 with a home run and four RBIs, and finished that season with a respectable .280 average with four homers and 12 RBIs. Desmond looked like he was on his way to fast start to his Major League career.

The metamorphosis Desmond has gone through is probably one of the most remarkable in recent years. Desmond only hit 50 home runs in his Minor League career, and has already eclipsed that with 57 in his young MLB career. Desmond seems to be destined for a huge year. Desmond is a leader, an offensive staple and has put his defensive struggles behind him.

Washington has missed players this year such as Jayson WerthBryce HarperRoss Detwiler and Stephen Strasburg, and Desmond has carried them through all of those injuries. Without Desmond, where would Washington be? I’m afraid to entertain the thought, imagine that.

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