Denard Span came over to the National League for the first time in 2013 and had a pretty good season for the most part. It wasn’t his best season by any stretch but it was decent. The one issue many had was his on-base percentage for a player hitting in the leadoff spot 140 games a season. In his defense he had never seen a lot of the pitchers before and was getting used to a new clubhouse. He eventually turned it around having a .352 on-base average from July 28 to the end of the 2013 season. That led directly into his 2014 season, where he had a bounce back year to say the least.
He did a little bit of everything at the plate and was nominated for the second straight season for a gold glove. He hit over .300 for the first time since his sophomore season in the majors and improved his on-base average by thirty points from last season. He set a new career-high in hits (184) and led the National League in multi-hit games with 58.
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From the leadoff spot you hope to get stolen bases and Span did just that. He stole a career-high 31 bags in 38 chances, leading to him scoring 94 runs on the season, 19 more than last season. He was an all-around player that showed that he belonged with the Nationals for years to come.
The future is bright for the Tampa, Florida native. He has a $9MM option that I fully expect to be picked up by Mike Rizzo and the Nats front office. He showed just about everything he is capable of doing in 2014 and has the ability to lead this powerful offense again in 2015. He is the catalyst that makes the offense go and as he showed in 2014 he has the chance to be a special player. Throw the bad postseason aside and he is second to Anthony Rendon in offensive MVP honors for the Washington Nationals.
You can’t expect him to have the kind of season he had in 2014 again, because of regression and he is getting older but something similar should happen. He just has to be healthy and stay on the field for 150+ games and he has the chance to be special again. From the left side of the plate he brings something that the Nationals don’t really have anywhere else in the lineup except for Bryce Harper. He brings speed to the top and is an excellent base runner. Getting him on base as much as possible is goal number one and from there the Nats offense will take flight in 2015.