Washington Nationals SS Ian Desmond is one of those curious cases. He's been in the organization longer than anyone, drafted by the Expos in the 3rd round of the 2004 Draft, and everyone still sees him as a guy with a lot of potential. At an outside glimpse, it's easy to see why.
Despite his propensity for the error, Desmond also gets to balls that most shortstops couldn't dream of, and his arm strength is incredible. In 2010, his rookie season, Desmond accumulated 34 errors at short by rushing throws and poor decision making. This year, with a bit more experience, Desmond has dropped to 22 errors. That's still a whole lot of errors, but it's a vast improvement with just a few weeks left, and he looks more comfortable in the field. Desmond brings a lot of speed to the base baths, too, with 23 stolen bases this year and 17 in 2010.
The hitting is what really intrigues me though. He's had a rough time this season, but after Desmond's 5 for 6 explosion against the New York Mets on Thursday, Desi's average jumped from .245 to .251 on the year. That average is still lower than is expected of him, but it got me thinking, "man, didn't Desmond close the season like this last year?" The answer: yes, indeed.
In the 2010 season, after August 1st, Desmond hit .290 with a .730 OPS. From Opening Day to July 31st last season, he hit .245 with a .680 OPS. Wow.
Since August 1st this season, Desmond is hitting .302 with a .772 OPS. From Opening Day to July 31st this season, he hit just .228 with a .595 OPS. Seriously wow.
I'm not sure I know what this means, exactly, about Ian Desmond and his future with the Nationals. It could mean nothing at all, and it could mean he's actually turning it around for real this time. All I know is I want this kind of player when the Nationals are making their first post-season push in seasons to come.