Mar 14, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span (2) bats in the first inning against the Detroit Tigers during a spring training exhibition game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Nash: Denard Span Most Important Player for the Nationals in 2014


As part of a short series leading up to and through the opening week of the season, District on Deck writers will share their thoughts on several questions regarding the 2014 Washington Nationals. These are just the opinions of our staff, so feel free to voice your own in the comments below! Today we will continue with District on Deck writer Noah Nash.

What are your thoughts of the roster general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Matt Williams have put together?

I’m actually rather impressed by the roster that Williams and Mike Rizzo put together this offseason. Rizzo added to an already elite rotation by dealing for a front of the rotation starter in Doug Fister without needing to give up any significant present or future pieces. Nate McLouth, in my opinion, was a signing that really strengthens the bench. He becomes the first left-handed bat off of the bench, replacing an ineffective Chad Tracy. Even though the Nationals dealt away super utility man Steve Lombardozzi in the Fister deal, they replaced him with Kevin Frandsen, who will likely provide more pop offensively while still providing the versatility of a Lombardozzi.

Who will be the best/most important player on the Nationals this season and why?

I believe that this team will be very good and will make the playoffs. However, the player that is most important to the success of this team is Denard Span. Span struggled in the first half of last season, and the Nats’ lineup as a whole struggled as well. However, once Span started to go back to his Twin tendencies in the box, the lineup woke up and started to perform like one of the better offenses in the game. If Denard Span can have an OBP of around .350 or higher, this lineup will run very smoothly. However, if Span struggles again, the lineup may have to be juggled, upsetting the left-handed balance that Williams and Rizzo worked hard to construct this offseason.

What will be the single most important development for the Nationals in 2014 and why?

Ultimately I think that the most important development for the Nationals in 2014 will be an improved offense. With the exception of Jayson Werth and Ian Desmond last year, several Nats performed worse than their career averages. Bryce Harper wasn’t healthy enough to make the dominant impact we expect from him, and Adam LaRoche, after carrying the Nats at times in 2012, put out the worst season of his career.

Any other thoughts on the 2014 Washington Nationals?

I believe that the team will be significantly improved offensively.

Tags: Washington Nationals