Ian Desmond
Ian Desmond
34-Year-Old OutfielderOF
Colorado Rockies
Out
Injury Opt Out
Est. Return 2/1/2021
2020 Fantasy Outlook
Desmond has two more seasons of guaranteed money coming from the Rockies, so maybe 2020 will be the season where Desmond finally hits for a decent average again. The .285 season in his final year before his last free agent remains the recent high-water mark as Desmond's skills have mostly remained the same, yet his results have backslid even with all the benefits of playing home games in Denver. He got to 20 homers as most players did last year, but the steals stopped around some lower-half injury issues he had in the summer. He makes hard contact, but still too many of his batted balls are on the ground. He did significantly reduce his groundball rate last year from the low-60s to the high-40s, but a Yelich-like turnaround this will not be. Desmond is already 34, has lost his infield eligibility and could see his role scaled back in 2020. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a five-year, $70 million contract with the Rockies in December of 2016. Contract includes a $15 million team option ($2 million buyout) for 2022.
Elects to not play in 2020
OFColorado Rockies
Personal
June 29, 2020
Desmond announced Monday via his personal Instagram account that he won't play in 2020 for personal reasons.
ANALYSIS
Desmond will opt to sit out the 2020 season once play resumes to focus on civil rights issues and out of concerns about playing during the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming the fourth known player to do so. The 34-year-old has an expectant wife and four young children, and he outlined his concerns of playing during the pandemic. He was only expected to play against left-handed pitchers, so there will likely only be minor bumps in playing time for Sam Hilliard, Raimel Tapia, Garrett Hampson and Brendan Rodgers.
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Batting Stats
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2020
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2019 MLB Game Log
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2018 MLB Game Log
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2017 MLB Game Log
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2018
 
 
+36%
OPS vs LHP
2020
No Stats
2019
 
 
+49%
OPS vs LHP
2018
 
 
+24%
OPS vs LHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2018vs Left .910 389 56 23 71 11 .289 .341 .569
Since 2018vs Right .670 712 90 19 82 12 .220 .291 .379
2020vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Left .977 198 27 14 38 1 .297 .350 .626
2019vs Right .657 284 37 6 27 2 .226 .282 .375
2018vs Left .840 191 29 9 33 10 .280 .332 .509
2018vs Right .678 428 53 13 55 10 .216 .297 .382
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2018
 
 
+15%
OPS at Home
2020
No Stats
2019
 
 
+39%
OPS at Home
2018
 
 
+1%
OPS on Road
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2018Home .809 557 80 19 78 10 .264 .335 .475
Since 2018Away .701 544 66 23 75 13 .226 .282 .419
2020Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2020Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Home .913 250 40 11 39 1 .293 .353 .560
2019Away .657 232 24 9 26 2 .216 .263 .394
2018Home .724 307 40 8 39 9 .239 .319 .404
2018Away .734 312 42 14 49 11 .233 .296 .438
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Ian Desmond
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
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2012
2011
2010
2009
Desmond bounced back from an injury-riddled 2017, playing in 162 of the club's 163 games. However, he again wreaked havoc with the worms populating the Coors Field infield, pounding 62% of his batted balls into the ground. By doing so, Desmond failed to take full advantage of a career-high 24.7% HR/FB mark. Further exacerbating the issue, Desmond's BABIP on grounders nosedived to an inexplicable .231, after hovering near .300 each of the prior three seasons, despite maintaining an above average exit velocity. At least he stole 20 bases for the sixth time in the last eight years. The good news is Desmond's average should rebound as his strikeout rate remained steady at his career 24% mark for the third straight season, showing no signs of decline even as he turned 33 late in the campaign. Desmond's price is likely to be low, reflecting the perceived down year. Adding to the allure is continued dual eligibility at first base and outfield.
You can’t hit a grounder over the fence, even in Coors Field. You can’t hit anything over the fence if you’re on the disabled list. Desmond’s Rockies debut was delayed until late April after his left hand was fractured by a pitch early in spring training. He spent two weeks on the DL in early June with a calf injury and aggravated it a little over a week after his return, costing him an additional month. All told, Desmond played in 95 contests, mostly in the outfield, but enough at first base to gain dual eligibility. When healthy, 62.7 percent of his batted balls were grounders, all but mitigating the advantage of playing at altitude. Desmond maintained a high BABIP, fueling a respectable .274 average, which he parlayed into 15 steals. Entering 2018, Desmond is expected to play every day. Expect a fantasy-friendly average and stolen base total, along with runs and possibly 20-something homers if he can get more loft on the ball.
One of the biggest risk-reward picks heading into 2016, Desmond delivered for the bold, reviving his power-speed combination while posting his highest batting average since 2012. His career-high .350 BABIP may seem like an outlier, but his career .326 clip on balls in play and another year with a high groundball rate say it wasn't. Desmond's landing spot in free agency was ideal, too, as his floor has stabilized with the move to Colorado while his ceiling is higher than it's ever been. Unfortunately, he's lost shortstop eligibility in most formats and it's uncertain if he'll ever regain it as the Rockies are planning to play him primarily at first base. There is a lot to like here from a fantasy perspective -- a high-average, 20-20 season would easily put him among the top 100 earners by season's end -- but a fractured hand suffered in spring training puts long odds on a 20-20 season.
Desmond picked the absolute worst time to have a poor campaign, as the 30-year-old shortstop heads into free agency on the heels of career lows in batting average and OBP while hitting fewer than 20 home runs for the first time since 2011, stealing fewer than 20 bases for the first time since 2010, and committing an NL-leading 27 errors. Nobody cost themselves more money in 2015 than Desmond, as he ended up having to take a one-year deal with the Rangers to play left field with Josh Hamilton out indefinitely with a knee issue. Fortunately Desmond maintains his shortstop eligibility, but with Hamilton and Nomar Mazara lurking, everyday playing time is not guaranteed throughout the season.
Once again, Desmond ranked among the elite in terms of fantasy production from a middle infielder, turning in his third straight 20-20 season while racking up a career-high 91 RBI, but it was actually a bit of a down year for him. An ugly strikeout total (183, another career-high), driven primarily by more swings and misses on pitches outside the strike zone, led to a big drop in his batting average even as the rest of his batting profile remained relatively consistent. Desmond turns 30 in September and isn't likely to become more selective at the plate, so his days of making a positive contribution in batting average could be behind him, but hitting in the middle of a potent Nationals lineup should continue to supply him with plenty of offensive opportunities. If you're a believer in the big-contract-year theory, note that Desmond will become a free agent after 2015, although with no one ready in the system behind him, expect the Nats to make a big push to get him signed.
Desmond put together his second straight 20-20 season, cementing his spot among the elite fantasy options at shortstop. His high strikeout rate makes his ability to sustain a useful batting average questionable, but after Desmond hit .280 or better in back-to-back years, most owners should be comfortable taking that risk. Desmond is still young, athletic, and he hasn't been injury-prone, while he is capable of contributing in all five major categories. What more could you want?
Where did that come from? Desmond more than doubled his ISO from 2011, and in the process more than doubled his career home-run total. Most of his internal metrics look fairly flat though (his strikeout rate was a bit lower and BABIP a bit higher, but his walk rate remained rock-steady and poor), so while an age-27 power spike is not unheard of and he certainly seems to be maturing as a ballplayer (progress reflected primarily in his defense) his 2012 numbers look more like a peak than a new plateau. He might keep some of the homers, but he has too much empty air in his swing to maintain a near-.300 batting average.
Desmond had a disappointing 2011, showing a decline in his slash line and home run total. He was able to post an identical BABIP (.317), however, his strikeout rate increased from 19.0 to 21.8 percent and that caused a drop in his batting average. He was able to improve his walk rate in 2011, but he will not have an OBP above .320 in 2012. Desmond will be a benefit to owners because of his 20-plus stolen-base ability, and he is capable of producing double-digit home runs again. Despite his struggles in 2011 at both the plate and in the field, he will continue to be the starting shortstop in 2012.
Desmond's first full season in the big leagues proved to be a tough one. The improvement in his plate discipline that he flashed the year before evaporated, and his 34 errors in the field were unacceptable by any standard. His steals give him fantasy value and there's still a little upside here, but a disappointing start to the year (especially with the glove) could see Danny Espinosa slide over to short and put Desmond at second base, or on the bench in a utility role.
After a few seasons in the Nationals' system as the poster boy for Athleticism Without Tools, Desmond suddenly started developing a skill set, making consistent solid contact at the plate with a little bit of power and good success on the base paths, while also showing some refinement in the field. He did well enough at the end of the year in the majors to make the club seriously consider shifting Cristian Guzman over to second base in 2010 (although Guzman's declining defense should have been enough encouragement), and while the Nats may look to sign a veteran shortstop to take the pressure off Desmond he could just as easily win the starting job outright this spring. He won't be the next Hanley Ramirez, but he does look like he's got a big league career ahead of him.
The Nationals continue to promote Desmond as though he's a legit prospect, but he has yet to do anything on the diamond to prove it. He's an amazing athlete, but so far he hasn't honed his baseball skills enough to turn that athleticism into any kind of real production. He'll turn 24 next summer, and time is running out for him to justify Washington's faith in him.
More Fantasy News
Likely to get short side of platoon
OFColorado Rockies
March 23, 2020
Desmond figures to get most of his starts in left field against left-handed pitchers when the season gets underway, Kyle Newman of The Denver Post reports.
ANALYSIS
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On bench for season finale
OFColorado Rockies
September 29, 2019
Desmond is out of the lineup for Sunday's game against the Brewers.
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Starts comeback with solo shot
OFColorado Rockies
September 28, 2019
Desmond went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and a triple in Saturday's 3-2 extra-inning win over the Brewers.
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Remains on bench
OFColorado Rockies
September 27, 2019
Desmond is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Brewers.
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Sitting again Thursday
OFColorado Rockies
September 26, 2019
Desmond is not in the lineup Thursday against the Giants.
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