Washington Nationals’ Ian Desmond Emerging As Future Silver Slugger Favorite

Ian Desmond Silver Slugger
Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Two-time defending Silver Slugger Award winner Ian Desmond is off to a strong start in Spring Training for the Washington Nationals. If his beginning to Spring Training is any indication for the regular season, then he’ll be the favorite to win the award for the third year in a row.

On Wednesday afternoon against the New York Mets, Desmond hit his second home run in as many days off of Adam Kolarek. He ran the count full and then crushed one over the right-field wall. On Tuesday against the Atlanta Braves, he converted on a similar situation.

In 10 at-bats this spring, Desmond has four hits, including a double and two home runs. He is batting .400 this spring with a 1.100 slugging percentage. The 28-year-old’s numbers rival that of Zach Walters, who is also having a solid spring.

Over the last two seasons, we’ve seen Desmond’s career take off, especially at the plate. Combined, he’s hit 45 home runs, 153 RBI and has a slugging percentage of .482. To go along with those numbers, Desmond also has the hardware. He’s won the shortstop Silver Slugger Award two years in a row and was an All-Star in 2012.

Expect Desmond to contend for the annual award again this year. He has found his niche in the lineup as the team’s power hitter, and I expect manager Matt Williams to use him as such. He certainly won’t be leading off, so expect him anywhere in the 2-6 spot in the lineup. Washington will want to get guys on base so Desmond can bring them across for some runs.

Desmond is a strong and powerful shortstop standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 210-pounds. We’ve seen him get stronger and stronger each offseason, and this year he looks to have continued his upward trend. He’s hitting baseball hard and he’s hitting them far. Whatever he’s doing for an offseason workout, it’s working.

One of the interesting things about the upcoming season for Desmond is that it’s essentially a contract year. Over the offseason, the Nationals and Desmond reportedly discussed a long-term deal but an agreement was never made. Thus, he’s playing on a one-year deal. If he continues to play as well as he has been, he’ll be in for quite a payday after the season.

It may only be early spring, but Ian Desmond is already looking dialed in at that plate. He’s swinging the bat well and making solid contact. The fact that he already looks to be in regular-season form at the plate is great sign for Mike Rizzo and Williams. Expect to see Desmond’s name in the Silver Slugger talks all season long.

Brian Skinnell is a freelance sports writer for RantSports.com and contributor at Yahoo Sports. Follow him on Twitter and add him to your network on Google.

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