Nationals acquire Denard Span from Twins

The Washington Nationals today acquired center fielder Denard Span from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor-league right-handed pitcher Alex Meyer. Nationals Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcement.

Span is a career .284 (669-for-2354) hitter with 105 doubles, 36 triples, 23 home runs, 230 RBI, 90 stolen bases, 254 walks, 360 runs scored in 589 big league contests spanning five seasons (2008-12) with the Twins.

In 2012, Span batted .283 and paced the Twins with 38 doubles en route to notching a .342 on-base percentage.

The left-handed hitting and throwing Span has posted strong offensive output against both right- and left-handed pitching during his career. Span’s offensive numbers are slightly superior when facing left-handed pitching (.293 batting average, .374 OBP, .772 OPS) as opposed to righthanders (.280, .349, .733).

An experienced lead-off hitter, over 96 percent of Span’s at-bats in the big leagues have come while batting at the top of the Twins’ batting order.

Span is also difficult to strike out. In 2012, he ranked sixth in the American League by fanning just once every 9.2 plate appearances. Span was the 10th-most difficult qualified AL player (minimum 1000 plate appearances) to strikeout the last three seasons (9.2 PA/K from 2010-12).

Dating to his rookie campaign of 2008, Span’s .357 on-base percentage ranks 10th among all outfielders to amass at least 2500 plate appearances.

Span also offers strong defensive range and advanced instincts. Last season he led all qualified MLB center fielders in both range factor per 9.0 innings (2.89) and putouts per 9.0 innings (2.84).

In both 2009 and ‘10, Span’s offensive and defensive package helped the Twins capture back-to-back AL Central titles. In six postseason contests with Minnesota, Span hit .357 (10-for-28) with a double and one RBI.

Span, 28, was born in Washington, D.C., but spent the majority of his youth living in the Tampa area. He graduated from Tampa Catholic (FL) High School before being drafted by Minnesota in the first round (20th overall) of the 2002 First-Year Player Draft.