Washington Nationals 2015 Player Review: Denard Span
Coming into this season, the Washington Nationals were expecting big things out of center fielder Denard Span. He had finished the 2014 season with a .302 batting average and a .355 on-base percentage. He entered the year with a lot of momentum after hitting .346 in the final 63 games of the season and he was heading into a contract year. However, Span had his 2015 season derailed by injuries as he played in only 61 games in what might end up being his final season in a Nats uniform.
The 31-year-old center fielder had his injury problems begin during spring training when he had to undergo surgery to repair his right core muscle. Span would end up making his season debut for Washington on April 19 against the Philadelphia Phillies.
His best stretch of games during the season came from May 11-20 when Span had seven multi-hit games over an eight game period. However, his best game of the season was in the Nats’ 13-12 comeback win over the Braves on April 28. He went 5-for-6 that night with four runs scored, three doubles and a home run.
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However, even as Span was having some good games out of the leadoff spot, his back spasms kept flaring up throughout the early months of the season. After seeing a back specialist before the All-Star Break, Span went on the disabled list and would end up missing the remainder of the season.
In those 61 games that he played in, Span ended up finishing the season with a slash line of .301/.365/.431 with five home runs, 22 RBI’s, and 38 runs scored. One thing that the Nats offense missed most about Span was his ability to steal bases. Even though the center fielder stole 11 bases, the team as a whole stole the fourth fewest bases in the league (57).
Another part of Span’s game that continued to stay solid was his defense. After making four errors in 2014, he made just one error this season.
With Michael Taylor performing well in his first full season in the lineup, it makes the chances of signing Span to another contract less likely for the Nats. It was clear all season that Washington missed having his bat and his speed in the top of the order. While you have to take Span’s injuries into account when grading him for this season, he still deserves a good grade for 2015.
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