Rachel Levitin: Desmond solidifying his status as Nats' leader

In the early days of his career with the Nationals, shortstop Ian Desmond racked up more errors than web gems. Presently, he's solidifying himself as a leader in the Nats clubhouse. It's a role that seems to suit him now that he's growing into himself as a player and maturing as an adult.

With the heart of the Washington batting order not doing its job on a consistent basis and the Nats struggling to find a stream of positive momentum, Desmond is leading this team. Fresh off an 11th-inning grand slam - the first of his career - against the Philadelphia Phillies last night, the Nats have a prime example of what they've got in Desmond.

The added pressure of this season is something that Desmond understands. He's been with the Nats since 2009 and has watched this organization develop and transition into its modern incarnation. Much like third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, Desmond knows how far the team has come, but he also knows how far he's come personally as a professional baseball player since joining the organization.

When the 2013 season started, both fans and players felt it would be a continuation of what made 2012 so special. But as we all know, adversity hit and it hit big time. Injury after injury and a few roster moves by general manager Mike Rizzo, and we've got a completely unique - and unpredictable - season of baseball in Washington.

This was a season in which the baseball mass media envisioned a Stephen Strasburg-Bryce Harper two-for-one show every five days. Unfortunately, that pipe dream has been delayed. But expectations aside, seeing Desmond rise to the occasion and work not only to better himself on the field but in the clubhouse as well is just one example of the class acts the Nats' organization employs.

Rachel Levitin blogs about the Nationals for We Love DC, and will be sharing her observations about baseball in the nation's capital as part of MASNsports.com's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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