The Texas Rangers aren’t to be taken lightly. With the newest acquisition of Ian Desmond, the ball club has solidified itself as a contender in the American League. But what kind of player are the Rangers getting in Desmond?
There is a lot to like about the signing of Desmond. An All-Star in 2012, the former Washington National was once one of baseball’s best shortstops. But the million dollar question for the Rangers is whether he will repeat his stellar 2014 numbers, or continue his sporadic play from 2015?
In 2014, Desmond was one of baseball’s best. His 24 home runs and 91 RBI’s led all shortstops. He also accounted for 24 stolen bases, making him one of the most versatile players in the MLB.
The 2015 season wasn’t as kind to Desmond as his previous years. He was putrid during the 1st half of the season, posting a .211 batting average. His homeruns (7) and RBI (24) numbers also suffered.
It was Desmond’s second half that saw the former Silver Slugger return to form. He batted a much more respectable .262, and with that a much higher total of homeruns (12) and RBI’s (38).
Desmond was the seventh best shortstop during the second half of the 2015 season, a much better ranking than his 18th slot for the seasons first half. He had found his All-Star form from previous years, and salvaged what could have been a disaster of a year.
And that’s the reason why Desmond is such a question mark going into the 2016 campaign. Do the Rangers get the horrendous first half Desmond? Or do they get the reinvigorated second half version?
At the age of 30, Desmond is no spring chicken. His skills could be on the decline, but his 2015 second half proved he still has something left. That’s what the Rangers are banking on, a return to form for the former All-Star.
The Rangers are opting to play Desmond as their primary left fielder, transitioning him away from the shortstop position he had been accustomed to in Washington. That might be a good thing for him, as the outfield is a much more relaxed position than shortstop.
Could it be that a change of position is what he needs to jumpstart this season’s first half? It could only benefit him.
Another factor for a possible Desmond resurgence could be the ballpark factor. As a National, Desmond played most of his games at Nationals Park. He now gets to play in the more hitter-friendly, Globe Life Park in Arlington.
There are a lot of factors pointing to a successful 2016 from Ian Desmond. He settled on signing a one-year deal. The hope is that he has an extraordinary season, and can cash in during the Hot Stove period. But of course, that all hinges on what Desmond the Rangers are getting.