Ian Desmond

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Ian M. Desmond (born September 20, 1985) is an American professional baseball infielder and outfielder for the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers. Desmond is a three-time Silver Slugger Award winner and a two-time MLB All-Star. While primarily a shortstop throughout his career, Desmond began playing left field and center field for the Rangers in 2016.

Professional career

Minor leagues

The Montreal Expos selected Desmond in the third round of the 2004 MLB draft (84th overall). Desmond batted .227 with one home run and 27 RBIs for the Gulf Coast League Expos in 2004. He was second in the Gulf Coast League with 216 at-bats and fifth in stolen bases with 13. He had a .250 batting average with one home run and one RBI in four games for Class-A Short-Season Vermont Expos.

In 2005, Desmond batted .247 with four home runs and 23 RBIs in 73 games for Class-A Savannah Sand Gnats. He added a career-high 20 stolen bases. Desmond had a .256 batting average with three home runs and 15 RBIs in 55 games for the Class-A Advanced Potomac Nationals of the Carolina League. At season's end, he was named the best defensive shortstop in the South Atlantic League (SAL) in Baseball America' s top tools survey of league managers. He was ranked as the 19th best prospect in the SAL by Baseball America.

In 2006, Desmond batted .244 with a career-high nine home runs and 45 RBIs for Potomac. He scored 50 runs and had 20 doubles in 92 games. He had a .182 batting average with no home runs and three RBIs for the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.

Desmond spent the 2007 season with Potomac and set career highs in home runs with 14, average with a .264 clip, on-base percentage with a .357 clip and doubles with 30. Desmond slugged his first homer of the season on April 17. He went 3-for-5 with a home run, double, three RBIs and scored twice on April 20. He homered in consecutive games on July 28-29 and August 12-13.

In 2008, Desmond played for Harrisburg and started the year there in 2009. In his three months there, he batted .306 and, in June, was promoted to the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs. In 55 games with the Chiefs, he batted .354. [2] After the minor league season ended, he was called up to the Nationals.

Washington Nationals

Desmond played his first major league game on September 10, 2009. He had his first hit, a double, and RBI during his second at bat. He later went on to hit his first home run during the same game. [4] He followed that up with a 4-for-4 game, and become only the second player ever (along with Guy Sturdy of the 1927 St. Louis Browns) to record at least six hits and four RBI in his first two games as a major leaguer. [5]

On March 28, 2010, after a solid spring training in which he led the team in RBIs, Desmond was awarded the Nationals' starting shortstop job, beating out incumbent Cristian Guzmán. [6] [7] His first full year was a bit erratic. He booted the first ball that came to him and in the next game, hit the first home run of the season for the Nationals. Desmond ended the season batting .269 with 10 home runs and 65 runs batted in while stealing 17 bases. [8]

Desmond switched his uniform number to 20 at the beginning of the 2012 season to honor Frank Robinson. [9] On Opening Day, Desmond started at shortstop and hit leadoff for the Nationals, who played at the Cubs. Desmond went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run. After scoring the game-tying run in the top of the 8th, Desmond hit a go-ahead single to right field, plating pinch-runner Brett Carroll, which gave the Nationals the lead. They would hold on to win 2–1. [10]

Desmond was selected [11] for the 2012 All Star Game, his first such selection. However, on Saturday, July 7, it was announced that Desmond was withdrawing from the game due to a sore oblique and would be replaced by Michael Bourn. [2] The oblique injury persisted, forcing the Nationals to place Desmond on the 15-day disabled list on July 23. [2]

At the encouragement of manager Davey Johnson, [2] Desmond became a very aggressive hitter. He was second in the National League, and seventh in the majors, in percent of pitches swung at in the 2012 season (55%). [2] With his 18th home run of the season on August 20, Desmond set a franchise record for homers by a shortstop. [2] On September 24, Desmond became the first Nationals player since 2006 to join the 20 home run – 20 steal club when he stole his 20th base. He had already hit 24 home runs. [2] Desmond was awarded a Silver Slugger for his offensive prowess in the 2012 season. [2]

In 2013, Desmond repeated both his 20 home run – 20 steal season [2] and his Silver Slugger Award. [2] He batted .280 with 20 home runs, 80 runs batted in and 21 stolen bases in 158 games played. [21] 2014 saw Desmond win his third straight Silver Slugger at shortstop, batting .255 with 24 home runs and 91 RBI. [21] Desmond struggled both offensively and defensively throughout the 2015 season. In 156 games, he hit .233 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI, and committed 27 errors in the field. [21] At the end of the season, he became a free agent.

Texas Rangers

After rejecting a $15.8 million qualifying offer from the Nationals, Desmond remained a free agent until February 29, 2016, when he signed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Texas Rangers. [4] Desmond was expected to play primarily in the outfield rather than as a shortstop for the Rangers. He made his first appearances in left and center field during Cactus League action in March 2016. [4]

Desmond was one of a number of MLB players who hailed the exhibition game in March 2016 between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national baseball team in Havana, a symbol of the Cuban Thaw, calling it "a historic day for baseball". [4]

Desmond was selected as an American League All-Star to represent the Rangers at the 2016 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in San Diego along with teammate Cole Hamels. Prior to the game, Desmond was batting .322 with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs. Desmond finished the 2016 season with a batting average of .285, 22 home runs, and 86 RBIs. The Rangers lost in the 2016 ALDS, being swept by the Blue Jays in three games. In the series Desmond went 3-for-14 (.214) with 2 RBIs.

Colorado Rockies

On December 13, 2016, Desmond signed a five-year contract with the Colorado Rockies. [4] [4] During a spring training game on March 13, 2017, Desmond was hit by a pitch on his left hand. The injury resulted in a metacarpal fracture, requiring surgery. [4] He appeared in his first game for the Rockies on April 30 in left field, due to the strong play of first baseman Mark Reynolds. [4]

Personal life

Desmond has a younger brother, Chris Charron. [9] Desmond and fellow major league player Josh Roenicke are brothers-in-law; Roenicke, a pitcher who played for the Minnesota Twins through 2013 and signed a minor league deal with the Nationals for 2014, [4] married Desmond's sister Nikki in 2010. [4] In January 2010, Ian married his wife Chelsey, [4] whom he met in the fifth grade. [32] The couple has three children together. When his first child was born, Desmond became one of the first players to claim paternity leave, which had just been introduced to MLB. [5] [5] The family lives in Sarasota, Florida. [32]

While with the Nationals, Desmond served on the board of the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, which opened in 2014. [5] [5]

Desmond is a Christian. [37]

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