Monday, April 25, 2011

Desmond's Defense Still A Problem

(Photo Courtesy UPI/Alexis C. Glenn)

Ian Desmond was the butt of many a-joke in 2010 for his almost comically bad defense. The young shortstop committed 34 errors for the Nats last season, by far the worst of any shortstop in baseball. But everyone assured us that he'd just get better over time, that people were simply overreacting about his rookie season. Well that was before Desmond got benched after 2 errors on Saturday.

Now, 3 weeks in to his second season, the only thing that's been consistent about Desmond's play has been how consistently poor it's been. If my math serves me correctly, Desmond's 6 errors this season has him on pace to have... 48 errors this season. I know I'm being facetious with that stat, but the defensive issues the Nats have at shortstop cannot be understated.

Desmond's ice cold bat only compounds and amplifies his defensive struggles. He finished the 2010 season with those 34 errors, but at least he had his bat to prove he was worth the roster spot. But now, he's looked uncomfortable at the plate, hitting just above the Mendoza line, swinging at bad pitches, and had to be removed from the lead off spot. The only positive to glean from his performance in 2011 thus far is he's 8 for 8 on stolen bases.

I know it's too early in the season to force him out of his roster spot. I'm in no way calling for that. Not to mention, he's about to have his first child, and the weight of that might be causing some of these lapses. (No one can blame him, there.) But Desmond has to figure out why he's been struggling and force himself back in the right direction.

The Nats can take an average defender with great bat, or an average bat with a great glove, but they can't afford average defense and offense. And what they're getting from Desmond right now is far below average. It's time for Desi to step up his game, or risk losing his hold on the starting SS job.


  1. On a different note, Desmond was nice enough to take time to sign a few autographs Saturday night and give a fist-pump to the small cadre of Nats fans in the crowd. A little girl was so excited for Ian that she slipped and fell face-first into my plate of nachos.

  2. Anyone in the pipeline - or would that involve a trade?

  3. Nick - I think Desi is a "good makeup" guy, as proven by your story, but that doesnt score runs or make outs.

    Macmom- the most logical choice would be to move Espinosa to short and play Bixler, Cora, et al at 2nd for now. Probably would mean a roster move long term for a 2b replacement with Espi staying at SS.

  4. Desmond hopefully wont be the starting SS next year. I always felt him, Espinosa and Zimmermann were far more a product of Nationals propaganda than any actual talent. They just want to make it seem like the Front Office is trying