Over the winter, Ian Desmond reflected on his career season. After years of tinkering with this swing and trying to hit the ball the other way, he had finally felt comfortable in his own skin at the plate. He smashed 25 homes runs, posted a triple slash line of .292/.335/.511, became an all-star and earned fringe MVP votes. He still swung at a lot at first pitches and didn’t work deep into counts or draw walks, but he found a swing and approach that suited him.
“Stop trying to be a scientist out there,” he said. “You get in trouble. I go home and watch baseball in the offseason. I watch baseball all the time. So I see what all these great hitters are doing. And I want to try to do the things that they’re doing. But I’m not them. I’m me. So they do what they do because they go out there and use the swing that they know how to use. I can’t do what they’re doing. So when I stopped trying to do that, I feel like I found my own swing and be my own player.”
Desmond told himself, at one point this offseason, that he didn’t want to strike out over 100 times again and that he was capable of doing better. But then, he realized that he’s not exactly scared of striking out that many times; it’s the fact that he isn’t putting the bat on the ball enough. That, he said, is his goal for this season. If he can reach the ball and it’s one he’s capable of hitting, he will swing.