Ian Desmond has taken quite a bit of grief this year, and deservedly so. He leads the league in errors – by a wide margin. And today, Adam Kilgore pointed out that “Ian Desmond’s .695 OPS ranks second lowest among qualifying major league rookies despite his fortunate .316 batting average on balls put in play.” By the way, I love Kilgore’s article, lots of fun little stat things that I really enjoy reading. Anyway, Ian isn’t exactly hitting the cover off the ball.
As for the fielding, I don’t want to write too much on that at the moment. The errors suck, we all hate them. They are modified by a great range, and the hope that with maturity he will improve the bad throws.
But the hitting is what I was wondering about. 2nd lowest among qualified rookies? That aint good. I actually looked and I don’t know what “qualified” counts as, but Desmond has had 371 PAs. Alcides Escobar, another SS, is below him with a .643 OPS. Starlin Castro, the other rookie SS with enough playing time is way above, with a .800 OPS in 324 PAs.
As for other rookie shortstops with some significant playing time, Jason Donald of the Indians has 235 PAs and a better than Desmond .717 OPS. Tommy Manzella of Houston has 209 PAs with a .513 OPS. Other rookies that are below Desmond with perhaps non-qualified but still quite a few PAs include Justin Smoak who has a .669 OPS in 275 PAs, and Jonathan Herrera, 2B on the Rockies, with a .662 OPS in 184 PAs.