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."
May 18, 2010; 7:35 PM ET
Categories: Ian Desmond , Jim Riggleman
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