When asked which Nationals are key to winning in October the trendy picks are going to be Jayson Werth and his .264/.374/.586 postseason batting line or Bryce Harper along with the fact that he has the most raw talent of any National, hit .288/.359/.454 in the second half of the season, and is fully capable of a month like he had in April 2013 when he hit .344/.430/.720. Both of them are full capable of carrying the Nats for a month, but there is another Nat that is known for crazy hot streaks and can carry the team and that is Ian Desmond.
Ian Desmond finished the season with his best month hitting .277/.351/.458 and while that isn’t a particularly hot month for Ian Desmond he never had a truly cold month this season with April being his worst month with a .644 OPS. Ian Desmond never truly had one of his hot months in 2014 like he did in June of 2013 where he produced a .988 OPS or September of 2012 where he had a .927 OPS. Ian Desmond has always been a streaky hitter but he wasn’t for 2014 and that means the regular season ended with us still waiting for that true Ian Desmond hot streak.
There is no better time than right now for that to happen. Ian Desmond has always been streaky. His very first month in the majors he hit .280/.318/.561, putting on an impressive power display and staking his claim to the shortstop position for the 2010 season. 2010 and 2011 were not good offensive seasons for Ian Desmond but he still had those hot months with an OPS of .851 in August of 2010. The problem with early Ian Desmond was while he was prone to the hot months he had ice cold ones as well. Since then he’s become more consistent but in 2012 and 2013 he had the blazing hot months he never had in 2013.
With September being his best month of the season so far it could be that Desmond was just warming up. Looking at September in halves from September 1 to September 14 Ian Desmond managed a paltry OPS of .667, but then he went on a tear in the second half of the month producing an OPS of 1.021 in his final 14 games. Ian Desmond has the ability to go on a power tear and can absolutely carry the Washington Nationals through October, but so can Jayson Werth, Bryce Harper, Adam LaRoche, or Anthony Rendon.
That is part of what makes the 2014 Washington Nationals. My pick as a player to watch is Ian Desmond, but any of the above listed offensive players could do the same thing and that doesn’t even mention the fact that if they pitching staff keeps pitching like they did in September the Washington Nationals won’t need to score many runs to win games. This is a team with no true obvious weakness and several players capable of getting hot and carrying a team for a month, and with this being the most important month of the season now would be a good time for them to do it.