You may have heard this one already, but Ian Desmond has a hitting streak going. Ok, so if you’ve watched a Nats game in the last week, you know MASN has taken great pains to make sure we know that. At this point, he’s up to 15 games in a row, and it’s had quite the effect on his numbers.
Desi actually had a very strong April, but his May wasn’t looking so good. In fact, by May 28th (actually, the second game of his hit streak), he was down to a .291 OBP. He’d have to hit a crazy amount of HRs to justify his value.
Not that anyone was calling for his benching. He doesn’t walk much, so almost by definition, he’s a streaky hitter. And the .742 OPS made him look better than he probably was (OBP and SLG are sorta valued the same in OPS, but OBP is definitely more important).
Well, the streakiness had reared it’s ugly head in May, but at the end of May, it showed it’s positive side. He went from hitting .259/.291/.451 on May 28th all the way up to .293/.326/.483 after a 4 for 4 Thursday.
Since that May 28th OPS low, he’s played in 14 games, and hit a spectacular .414/.446/.604. He still hasn’t walked much, but when you’re hitting .414, who cares?
You can actually make a pretty good case that even before the hitting streak he was starting to heat up. He had hits in 3 out of the 5 games prior to the current streak, and if you go back to include those 20 games, he’s been hitting .360/.395/.507. That’s throwing another week of strong hitting on the pile.
Desmond is always going to be streaky, because he doesn’t take alot of walks. But when he’s hot, he helps lengthen the lineup. It’s more than just that, though. He also becomes one of the best shortstops in the league. It’s hard to argue that a guy with a .291 OBP is one of the very best, no matter how good his glove is. But when your SS is a really good fielder, and he’s got the 3rd highest OPS in the NL among shortstops (behind only Tulo and 23 year old sensation Jean Segura), well, then you can start making a case.