Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE
At the end of a season that began with some wondering if Ian Desmond deserved to be starting at short, there was talk of extending the 27-year-old infielder to keep him in the Washington Nationals' infield long-term.
Though [Ian] Desmond returned for Spring Training in 2012 with some new ideas Davey Johnson wasn't completely happy with, the work the Nats' shortstop did late in 2011 and over the winter and the aggressive approach he adopted at the plate began to pay off, especially when the Nationals' shortstop was dropped from the top of the order. Desmond had a .272/.294/.451 line as the Nats' leadoff man from April 5th through May 18th, at which point he was moved to the five and then six hole when Michael Morse retired to the lineup in June.
Between May 18th and the All-Star Break (July 8th), Desmond posted a .298/.337/.579 line with 13 doubles and 11 HRs in 44 games and 181 plate appearances, earning himself his first All-Star selection. More impressive was the fact that Desmond played the last few weeks before the breal with a strained oblique which caused him to hit the DL early in the second-half. Upon returning to the lineup, after nearly a month off, Desmond picked up where he left off and finished the season with a .309/.364/.530 line, nine doubles and eight home runs from August 17th through the end of the regular season (Oct 3rd).
When Desmond's third full major league season ended, the shortstop had a .292/.335/.511 line in 130 games and 547 PAs with career highs in doubles (33 up from 27 the previous two seasons), home runs (25 up from 8 in 2011), RBIs (73 up from 49 in 154 G in 2011), wRC+ (128 up from 79 and 86 the two previous seasons), ISO (Isolated power) .218 (up from .124 in 2010 and .104 in 2011), and fWAR (+5.4 up from +1.4 and +1.3) in what ended up being another level of breakout season for the infielder who turned 27 in late September. The +5.4 fWAR was second-highest amongst qualified shortstops league-wide as was his wOBA (.362 to Ben Zobrist's .365). Desmond's 128 wRC+ were the league's second-highest, his 25 HRs were the most in the majors, the .218 ISO was the major's best amongst shortstops.
After having hit exactly one opposite field home run (to right-center in 2010) in his career before this season and having pulled all eight in 2011, Desmond hit nine of his 25 2012 HRs to center or right field, showing power to all fields...
Washington Nationals' Ian Desmond Answered A Lot Of Questions In 2012 sbn.to/RRndOv— SBNation DC (@sbnationdc) October 22, 2012