Washington Nationals: 5 storylines to watch as Giants visit DC

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 09: (L-R) Denard Span
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 09: (L-R) Denard Span /
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Denard Span’s return to DC

Denard Span played for the Nats from 2013-2015 and was always a fan favorite. He served as an outstanding leadoff hitter, with his lowest batting average being .279 in 2013. He provided a spark at the top of the lineup, with the offensive highlight of his Nationals career being his 29-game hitting streak in 2013.

While Span hit .292 throughout his tenure with the Nats and led the National League in hits in 2014, he was mostly known for his defense. He was an amazing defensive center fielder and made countless unbelievable catches while “spanning” the outfield.

Since departing Washington for San Francisco, Span has continued to hit well. While his .266 batting average last season isn’t up to the standards he set in a Nationals uniform, he is displaying signs of declining due to aging, which is what caused the Nats to let him walk. While his batting average last season was his lowest since 2011, he enjoyed a dramatic power increase. His 11 homers were a career-high and the most he ever hit for the Nats was five.

Span is hitting well again this season, batting .269 with seven homers in 88 games, but his defense is not what it once was. According to FanGraphs, his ultimate zone rating (UZR) is -3.3, which is considered below average. His UZR in 2013 was a whopping 10.2, which is considered great.

Nats fans always loved Span, and with good reason. He was a great all-around player during his time in DC, while also making a huge impact in the community. When he returns to DC tonight, he should receive a well-deserved welcome back.