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Ian Desmond earns more praise from Jim Riggleman

Jim Riggleman has not been stingy this season with praise for rookie shortstop Ian Desmond, and he continued this evening before the game. "He's a got a chance to be one of the elite shortstops in baseball," the Naionals' manager said.

Riggleman also noted Desmond's offensive improvement, which was stark last night as Desmond went 4 for 4. Desmond's on-base percentage for the season is just .320, but in so far in May he's put up a .306/.340/.490 in batting average, on-base and slugging percentage.

But what Riggleman seems most excited about is Desmond's defense. Desmond's 14.4 UZR/150 ranks fourth in the majors. In range factor, FanGraphs.com ranks only Pittsburgh's Ronny Cedeno ahead of Desmond.

Riggleman doesn't rely on those numbers, but he also believes Desmond's athleticism sets him apart. He was asked today if Desmond reminds him of any other players.

"I can't think of anybody, because he's so rangy and athletic," Riggleman said. "Offhand, I don't know. I hesitate to say some of the names that might come to mind, because those guys are Hall of Famers. I don't want to disrespect anybody who's accomplished things for 12, 15 years by comparing them to somebody who just got here. I think after he plays a few years, you'll be able to mention him in the same breath with some great names.

"Right now, there's not too many guys out there who play like he does, that athletic and electric in their body. He could play center field. A lot of shortstops could do that. But I really think he could be a great center fielder."

By Adam Kilgore  |  May 18, 2010; 7:35 PM ET
Categories:  Ian Desmond , Jim Riggleman  
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Comments

Why is Riggleman still obsessed with making Desmond an outfielder?

Posted by: cassander | May 18, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

What makes you think he is obsessed with that?

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Posted by: itkonlyyou67 | May 18, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

let me answer it for him: derek jeter - he looks like derek jeter

Posted by: VTBonovox | May 18, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else getting tired of seeing Harris continually do nothing except walk around with a scowl on his face?

Posted by: SCNatsFan | May 18, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Because he still wants his guy Guz at shortstop sec3 why else?

Posted by: periculum | May 18, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

A non sequitur. Where has he said he wants Desmond in the outfield?

Posted by: Sec3mysofa | May 19, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

He obviously isn't trying to make Desmond a CF, not when he is comparing him to other shortstops who he is afraid to even mention by name because they are HOF members or HOF-bound (Jeter). He was merely pointing out how athletic he is. No one is trying to make Guzman the starting SS again, remember that it was Rizzo and Riggleman who proposed the idea to Guzman last year that he move to 2B because his range was shrinking. Guzman was Bowden's guy, not Rizzo's or Riggleman's.

Mr. Kilgore, At the end of your story while quoting Riggleman you wrote: "He could play center field. A lot of shortstops could do that."
No doubt that should have read: "...could NOT do that".

Posted by: dabagley | May 19, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

no, i think he has the quote exactly right, dabagley.

because yes, a lot of SSs could probably play CF.

the point riggs made was that he thinks desmond "could be a *great* center fielder." and while lots of SSs could play CF adequately, that doesn't mean they could be great.

Posted by: sec231 | May 19, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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