Washington Nationals outfielder Denard Span‘s current hitting streak now sits at 21 games after knocking a leadoff double in the third inning Tuesday night against the New York Mets. Span has been able to put up impressive numbers during that 21-game span.
Over the past 21 games, Span has batted .410 with an on-base percentage of .493. He’s had seven multi-hit games and has five extra-base hits and two home runs. He has eight RBIs and has scored 14 runs. As a leadoff hitter, singles, runs scored and on-base percentage are likely his most important stats. After all, the main job of the leadoff man is to get on base so his comrades behind him can move him around the diamond and score him.
The Nationals have had quite the troubles with leadoff hitters in years past. Nyjer Morgan, Danny Espinosa and whole host of others have all had cracks at the leadoff spot. None of them have been able to find the success that was once had by Alfonso Soriano. With Span’s recent success, the Nationals’ leadoff spot seems to be pretty well locked up.
In this day and age in MLB, leadoff hitters are extremely important. Nowadays, ball clubs have legit power hitters in the middle of the order, and people in front of them to get on base so those power hitters can bring them in with big flies. Before Span’s recent success, there weren’t very many people getting on base and power hitters would be hitting doubles with two outs.
While it’s still an extra base hit, most managers would love to have some guys on base when doubles get hit.
Span isn’t the only player to step up his game. Jayson Werth, Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman have all upped their game. While the Nationals have become one of MLB’s hottest teams, it’s still very unlikely that they’ll get to the postseason. However, the recent success of Span should leave the club confident and happy with their leadoff situation for 2014.