Name: Ian M. Desmond
Nickname(s): Desi, Also his “Porn ‘Stache” is legend-(wait for it)-hairy
DOB: September 20, 1985
From: Sarasota, FL
Position: Shortstop Batting Order: Last year was 5th or 6th but who knows this year
With the Nats Since: Drafted in 2004 by the Expos(!), Debuted in 2009
Who is This Guy?: This guy we know – here’s last year’s GTKAN.
What Happened Last Year: More of the same from his breakout 2012 season. The big question before last year was, “Can Ian do it again?”. The answer was a resounding, “You betcha!”. He stayed on the field for 158 games, after missing 32 in ’12, and while his slugging dipped, he improved his defense, base-running, and walk rate. During a season that saw many of the Nats’ stars struggle with injuries and inconsistencies, Desmond was the steady force in the middle of the lineup. After totaling 5.0 WAR in ’12, he exactly equaled that total again in ’13. Although his offensive production dropped a bit – .453 SLG, down from .511 – he made up for the dip in power by staying on the field for 28 more games while continuing to improve other aspects of his game. Ultimately, he proved his 2012 season was no fluke.
What’s Expected: Another 5 WAR season. At least from me. Fangraphs’ projections only project him to put up 3-4 WAR due to the drop in power last year. However, he’s still in his prime and if he can stay healthy, my guess is his final numbers end up somewhere between his ’12 and ’13 stats – not as good as ’12 but maybe a little better than ’13. His walk rate improved from 5.5% to 6.6% so if he’s able to continue that trend – and history says plate discipline is one area that players can improve over time – there’s no reason to believe he won’t replicate his past work. Unless…
If It All Goes Wrong: Injuries raise their ugly head and keep Desmond off the field. His slugging could also continue it’s decline, although players tend to hold their power into their 30’s so I doubt it’ll fall another .60 points, but you never know. Putting up numbers similar to his 2012 season is a long shot, but he most certainly will never have another year like 2011 – at least not any time soon. Ian has proved himself a relatively consistent player, year to year, since taking his step forward and I don’t believe a massive regression is coming.
If It All Goes Right: Desi keeps his power all year long (.406 SLG in the second half of the ’13 season, compared to .486 in the first half), continues to improve his walk rate, maintains his improved defense, and plays at least 155 games. Mike Rizzo comes to his senses and signs Ian to a long-term contract, keeping him as the captain of the infield for the length of Bryce Harper’s contract. #steak