The Washington Nationals have a target on their back. No doubt, they are the favorites to win the National League east.
This year, they have certainly made some upgrades, but the one that I think will help them the most is the acquisition of center-fielder Denard Span.
Here is the list of players who played in center-field for the Nationals last year; Bryce Harper, Rick Ankiel, Roger Bernadina, Jayson Werth, Corey Brown, Eury Perez and Brett Carroll. Here’s how Span helps. First of all, he allows Werth to go back to right field and Harper to go into left field and stay there, so that way he can get better and learn that position. Secondly, Span is a better player than everyone else on the list.
Secondly, Span gives the team a catalyst and a true lead-off hitter, something they could have used last season. Werth and Ian Desmond aren’t true lead-off hitters, they are much better at number two or further down in the order as they are projected to be. Span should be able to get on base quite a bit for the thunder behind him to drive him in.
The Nationals were a couple of things short last season: a true lead-off hitter who can play center-field, and a closer. The Nationals filled both of those holes with Span and Rafael Soriano. While Soriano will be important to the Nationals’ success, Span will be even more so since he plays every day. The Nationals have all the pieces in place – let’s see if it turns into October success.