Next wave of impact shortstops

Ian Desmond led all shortstops last season with an .845 OPS and 25 home runs. Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Ian Desmond was craft-brewed for the 1990s, around the time shortstops adopted offensive connotations. That decade saw a brilliant Ripken, a flawless A-Rod, a young Jeter, an incredible Garciaparra. The early 2000s brought a thrilling Rollins.

Desmond wasn't meant for that class, but for that time. He plays shortstop and cares deeply about his position, the communication and synergy of it, but there's no mistaking him: He's a middle-of-the-order hacker. Just listen to him.

"In my eyes, my job is to swing the bat," Desmond says. "Fastball, cutter, curveball, changeup -- I don't discriminate. If it looks good, I'm hitting it. And I don't just mean 'hit.' I mean really hit."

Yep, that would have played in the beginning days of baseball's offensive evolution. Still, there's one string attaching Desmond to that era: His era is, while different, also rich with shortstop talent.

"Shortstop has been a little like Wall Street," a senior official with one club says. "It goes up and down over the years. I think we have a good string now and with the guys to come."

Let's evaluate where we are and where we're headed with the next wave of impact shortstops breaking into the big leagues.