Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span has quietly put together quite a case for the award given to the NL’s best center fielder.
This is Span’s fourth consecutive year playing center field and it is his best one yet. In 376 total chances, Span has yet to record an error and has made 371 putouts with five assists, including one double play. His perfect fielding percentage ranks him first in the NL among all center fielders. Only one player, Milwaukee Brewers‘ Carlos Gomez, has more total chances than Span (397) and more putouts (382).
While the annual Gold Glove award is given to the best defender, oftentimes the bat can come into play when coaches and managers go to vote. Luckily for Span, he just wrapped up a league-high 29-game hitting streak in 2013. On the season, he’s batting .281 with four homers and 47 RBIs with an on-base percentage of .329.
Even if Span doesn’t win the award, he should be commended for his contributions to the Nationals in 2013. When he was brought in this past offseason, many hoped that he would fill two key roles as the team’s center fielder and leadoff hitter. Span has more than filled those roles and has given GM Mike Rizzo one less thing to worry about this offseason. In the past, both roles have been filled by a committee.
Don’t be surprised if Span comes away with the award when all is said and done. While the Nationals struggled through the first 75 percent of the season, he has stayed strong in center field. Span is certainly a dark horse for the Gold Glove award.