One of the most under-the-radar stories of the 2014 Major League Baseball season has been Denard Span’s ridiculous turnaround. The Washington Nationals outfielder has been on fire for the past two months after a disappointing start to the season.
After going 2-for-4 against Atlanta on Sunday, Span has now reached base in 36 consecutive games, and his batting average has jumped from .264 to .306 in that stretch. He is also in the midst of a 14-game hitting streak. The numbers are even more remarkable when you take a deeper look. A breakdown follows.
On June 27, Span went 0-for-4 in a 7-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs, and his batting average dropped to .264 as a result. His on-base percentage was a woeful .308, he was slugging .389 and his OPS was a paltry .697. Since that day he has batted in the leadoff spot for all of Washington’s games, and has reached base in each one.
In that time the 30-year-old center fielder has a .396 average, a ridiculous .463 on-base percentage, is slugging .458 and has an OPS of .922. He also has a silly .442 batting average on balls in play.
In 164 plate appearances over that stretch, Span has 19 walks while striking out just 16 times. In 144 at bats he has 57 hits, seven doubles and a triple. He has also scored 25 runs, with 10 stolen bases in 11 attempts. Most importantly, during that 36-game span the Nationals are 21-15.
Span’s on-base percentage for the season has jumped from .309 to .360. His OPS is also up to a respectable .772.
Span isn’t just getting on base once a game in this stretch either, he’s making an impact. Since the streak began he has 17 (!!!!) multi-hit games. He has two three-hit games, and three four-hit games. He has been on base multiple times in 24 of the 36 games. That’s just insane.
What brought out this change for Span? We have no idea, but the guy is currently on a roll like no one else in baseball. He’s third in the National League in hits (137), eighth in batting (.306), 16th in on-base percentage (.360) and has a WAR of 3.0. Considering that when the streak started he wasn’t anywhere near the top 20 on any of those lists, this streak is even more remarkable.
The Nationals have Monday off, but Span will be back to work on Tuesday in an attempt to continue his streak.