Center fielder Denard Span has become the cornerstone of the Nationals’ offense. His streaky hitting early in the year brought critics out to speculate about his abilities as a leadoff man. Now, Span is hitting for a .300 average and is among the top hitters in the National League making span’s bat essential to the Nationals’ success right now.
The team is in a tight race with the Atlanta Braves for first place in the NL East. As a team, the Nationals are slightly above middle-of-the-road in total runs scored. In major league, the team ranks 12th for runs scored. Much of their offensive production is because of hot bats like those of Span.
Fortunately, the Nationals have a strong pitching staff. With a team earned run average of 3.12, the Nationals are often able to win games by scoring just three or more runs. Because the team relies on its starting pitching and bullpen to hold opponents to a low score, every run it scores matters. That is where production from players like Span come into play.
Span is more important now than ever. Third baseman Ryan Zimmerman is out with another hamstring injury and fellow OF Bryce Harper continues to struggle at the plate. While the rest of the lineup finds their bats, players like Span and Jayson Werth must continue to produce.
Along with his .300 batting average, Span has 130 hits, 70 runs and 23 stolen bases. His production is crucial for the Nationals down the stretch.