Colorado Rockies first baseman Ian Desmond has been a solid power and speed threat in his career but has not gained the respect he deserves. Why is that?
Ian Desmond has not been given the respect he deserves over the span of his career for what he has done. He is one of the most underrated hitters in all of baseball, and the deal he signed with the Colorado Rockies this offseason validates this point. The former shortstop and outfielder is now playing first base but has not missed a beat at the plate.
Desmond had a terrific season with the Texas Rangers last year. The 31-year-old hit .285/.335/.446 in 677 plate appearances while playing center field. He posted a 20-20 season, hitting 22 home runs and stealing 21 bases, all while knocking in 86 RBI. He also racked up 107 runs scored last season, hitting at the top of the order for the Rangers.
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Desmond turned down a deal worth over $100 million with the Washington Nationals in 2014 to bet on himself and test free agency. That plan did not work out, as he hit .233/.290/.384 in 2015, the worst season of his career. The lackluster year earned Desmond a one-year, $8 million deal with the Texas Rangers last season. Desmond took a gamble that cost him well over $100 million.
Now, when you look at the numbers over Desmond’s career, he is one of the most underrated hitters in all of baseball. In four of the last five years, Desmond has had 20-20 seasons, in which he hit 20+ home runs and stole 20+ bases. In three of those four seasons, Desmond also played shortstop. In his career, Desmond has also had five seasons in which he finished with an OPS+ of over 100, which is the league average.
Desmond’s contract situation has also showed him as an underrated hitter. During the offseason, Desmond signed a five-year, $70 million deal with the Colorado Rockies with a team option for the 2022 season. A comparable player to Desmond is outfielder Dexter Fowler. Desmond has driven in more runs, hit more home runs and stolen more bases than Fowler over nearly an identical amount of at-bats. Fowler signed a bigger deal than Desmond by $12.5 million. Desmond is being underpaid for his production, mostly because of his one year of struggles with the Nationals in 2015.
Ian Desmond deserved more money and more recognition after a terrific season with the Rangers last year. Over his nine-year career, he has been to two All-Star Games and has won three Silver Slugger awards. It is about time that Desmond receives the respect that he deserves as a great all-around hitter.