Our next stop on our trip around the diamond breaking down the Washington Nationals’ 2013 season is at shortstop. For Ian Desmond, it started off slow but finished fast.
In 2012, Desmond won his first career Silver Slugger award and was sent to his first career All-Star game. In the field, he committed 15 errors and had a fielding percentage of 97-percent. At the plate, he was solid batting .292 with 25 home runs. Everything seemed set for him to build off of that in 2013.
Defensively, things got worse. He committed 20 errors but did manage to turn 96 double plays. Much like third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Desmond was inconsistent. He started off the season leading all shortstops in errors through the first couple months of the season. He then settled into a groove but periodically had lapses defensively.
He was inconsistent at the plate, as well. Had a batting average of .280 with 20 home runs. His RBI total increased from last season as he knocked in 80 runs and he also stole 21 bags. However, as is the case with the rest of the team, the productivity was inconsistent. Most of his numbers came in the team’s last couple months of the season where they became the hottest team in baseball before being eliminated from playoff contention.
Desmond’s future with the team currently sits at arbitration. He worked on a one-year, $3.8 million contract this past season, and if they can’t reach an agreement the two sides will head to arbitration hearings this offseason. He is a player that should be retained as he has shown this past season what type of power he can bring to the table. He just needs to bring it a little more consistently.
It’s hard to not like Ian Desmond. He brings a positive attitude to the ball park and he always plays with 100-percent effort. With that and his inconsistencies in mind, I’m giving him a B grade for his 2013 performance. Hopefully he’ll be able to return to his 2012 form for the Nationals in 2014.