44. The Atomic Number of Ruthenium. The jersey number of Hank Aaron. The number of American presidents. And...the number of players to don a jersey for the Washington Nationals in the calendar year 2011. The 44th and final edition of our 44-part series details the year 2011 in the life of...
Ian Desmond - Age 26 - 2 years + 1 September MLB Service Time
How he became a Nat: Drafted by the (ahem) Montreal Expos in the 3rd round of the 2004 first year player draft.
The Raw Numbers:
AVG - .253
OPS - .656
oWAR - 1.6
SB - 25
E - 23
Key Stat: WAR - 1.4. Ian Desmond is 26 and has been playing professional baseball since 2004. He has not shot through any level of play, nor has he particularly shined at any level of play. But he is a major league player. Is he the second coming of Derek Jeter, as a former Nats GM implied? No. His 1.4. WAR tells you exactly what he is, a guy who knows baseball, can play baseball, but will never be an all-star - despite what Bill Ladson says.
Best Game: August 21 against the Phillies. Going into the 9th inning, Ian was 1-4 with a double, a run and 2 strikeouts. But in the bottom of the 9th, with 2 outs, Desi hit a solo bomb to send the game into extras. The Nats won in the 10th.
Worst Game: May 12th against the Braves. 0-5. Golden Sombrero. Nats lose in extra innings. Ouch.
Capball Grade: Probably the hardest grade of the whole series. I like Ian. I saw him play for Potomac way back when. He was drafted by the Expos, what do you do with that? B-. The guy improved on defense, moved all around the line-up, and endured speculation and criticism for, well just being Ian Desmond. The guy had almost 150 hits, 40 XBH, 25 steals and was a good baseball player.
2012 Nats Status: As much as he would benefit from a change of scenery (not that he would admit it) and as much as the Nats want to be free from his issues (not that they would admit it), he will be a Nat in 2012. And that's a good thing. He is a cliche, a team player, has a great baseball IQ, and can lead by example. And he is only 26.
Ian Desmond is a polarizing player. Represent your pole in the comments section!