Oct 3, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span (2) makes a catch off the bat of San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval (not pictured) in the second inning of game one of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports
3. Denard Span
To be honest, I am not too worried about the Nationals’ pitching rotation.
Surprising, I know.
Which is why the rest of this ranking focuses on offensive production. The bats shouldn’t be a problem with this lineup on paper, but the NLDS last year revealed it could be this team’s Achilles heel in tough spots.
The guy that makes this lineup go is Denard Span leading off and getting on base.
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His first-half stats are a pedestrian .277/.345/.378, but in the second half Span exploded for a .346/.403/.459 slash line. The hope for this year is Span can continue that level of production into the 2015 season, but that could be easier said than done.
First, Span is entering into the ‘mystical thirties’, where position players’ skills start to decline. He is coming off one of his better years, but it is imperative he keeps fighting Father Time and produces.
Second, Span’s second-half numbers may be a bit inflated. His BABIP for the first half was a relatively average .299, but for some reason in the second half he only found green grass in the outfield and holes in the infield with a ridiculous .371 BABIP.
One would have to assume that stat is going to come back to earth and age will start to play a factor, but Span is the engine that makes this offense go, which puts him at number three on our list.
Next: Number 2