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2/27/1984 (32 y, 11 m, 30 d)
2002 June Amateur Draft - Round: 1, Pick: 20, Overall: 20, Team: Minnesota Twins
$31M / 3 Years (2016 - 2018) + 1 Option Years
Span is not in the lineup for Game 1 of the NLDS against the Cubs. (10/7/2016)
Pitching to Contact with Zack Greinke and Denard S»
Eno Sarris (FanGraphs)
Sunday Notes: Cards Bowman, Kinsler, Span, SABR Mi»
David Laurila (FanGraphs)
NL Outfielders: Opening Day Small-Sample Heroes
Alex Chamberlain (RotoGraphs)
The Sleeper and the Bust 01/10/2015 – Storen to TO»
Paul Sporer (RotoGraphs)
FG on Fox: Giants Bet on Denard Span's Talent
Jeff Sullivan (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Span repeated his solid 2008 performance for the Twins in 2009, posting a wOBA of .359. His value comes more from on-base skills (OBP of .392) than power (ISO of .104). The on-base skills come from a good walk rate (10.8%) and contact skills (just 15.4% K per AB) and an excellent BABIP (.358), justified by his speed, ground-ball tendencies, and left-handedness (as speedy left handers are more likely to beat out infield ground-balls since they are closer to first base). Span hit more homers in 2009 than 2008, but that was just a consequence of having about a third more PAs. His rate-based power numbers (ISO, HR/FB) were down compared to 2008. Span stole 23 bases in 2009.
The Year Ahead:
Span is a typical speedy AVG/R/SB outfielder. His speed and contact skills mean he should bat around .300. He hits at the top of the lineup and gets on base, so he should score at least 85, if not closer to 100, runs. And he should steal around 20 bases. With his speed and on-base skills, Span could potentially steal 30 or 40 bases if he ran more often. If he did so, Span would see a big jump in value. He has limited power and will probably hit fewer than 10 homers and have fewer than 75 RBI. Unless he starts running more, Span is probably not a starting outfielder in 12-team, three-outfielder leagues. His value increases in OBP leagues because of his great walk rate. (Dave Allen)
While his triple-slash numbers all took a nosedive, leading to the perception that Span regressed significantly in 2010, he was essentially the same player in most core statistics. Most importantly, his batted ball profile didn’t change at all, and he maintained the same ratio of walks to strikeouts even while making a bit more contact overall. The performance drop came from a huge drop in his BABIP, which swung from .353 to .294. As a ground ball hitter with good speed, Span should regularly beat the league average mark in BABIP, and his true talent level is probably closer to 2009 than 2010. Given that he also improved his base stealing efficiency, Span looks to be a potential bargain this year. If owners are discounting him based on his poor 2010 line, bid him up – you’re likely to get a pretty nice bargain when his numbers rebound and you have a .300 hitter who racks up the runs and steals. (Dave Cameron)
The Quick Opinion:
A guy to target - Span offers a lot of potential value beyond his 2010 performance. Make him a guy to go after.
If the 2010 season was tough on Span, 2011 was nothing short of cataclysmic. For the second straight year, Span sputtered to a high-.600s OPS, but this time the cause for worry was Span's bout with a concussion and vertigo-like symptoms that have actually been worse for him. Span jumped in an attempt to make a leaping catch one the eve of the season finale, and in doing so bumped into the wall and was out of the lineup yet again for the final game of the season. As a result, a cloud of doubt has to not only be hanging around in Denard's head, but also GM Terry Ryan's head as to what he can expect out of Span after two rough years. Span's still an elite defensive centerfielder, but with Justin Morneau also on the mend for a particularly debilitating concussion himself, perhaps the Twins can be forgiven for not wanting to hear the 'c-word' again any time soon. If he can get right, he'll provide average, steals, and runs scored in very good supply to a fantasy team. (Brandon Warne)
The Quick Opinion:
Even if Span is healthy in 2012, the onus is on him to prove that the last two seasons were a fluke, rather than his minor league self rearing its' ugly head. He's a bit of a gamble, so you may want to insure him with Ben Revere, just to be safe.
The 2012 season by many accounts was Span's return to relevance. Not only did he register his second-highest WAR total of his career (3.9), but his batting line started to look more like those he posted in his first two big league seasons rather than the last two. Chalk it up to health for Span, as 2011 was a tough season for him -- concussions and various other maladies that cost him nearly 100 contests. At his best, Span will make tons of contact, steal a few bases, generally run the bases efficiently, and play excellent center field defense. At his worst -- read: bad batted ball luck -- Span will look an awful lot like his departed teammate Ben Revere at the plate, while being prone to mental errors on the basepaths. He's not quite as good as 2008 or 2009 -- thank you Metrodome -- but he's also not as bad or injury-riddled as the two seasons after that. He is what he is, which is one of the better all-around real-life center fielders in the entire game. On the fantasy front, he'll probably be a relatively attractive option whose value will vary greatly based on league type. He won't show any power, but he's an asset in walks, OBP, stolen bases, and probably batting average too. Twins fans will miss him, and National fans will love him. (Brandon Warne)
The Quick Opinion:
A return to relevance only brought Denard Span to the fringes of mixed league fantasy value, but if you need steals and a little batting average late in your next draft, take a look at the new Nationals' center fielder.
It has become increasingly clear that Span will never duplicate his 2008-2009 production, when he posted a .361 weighted on-base average over two seasons. He's been an entirely different player since then; while he sustained a .390 on-base percentage over the course of '08-'09, his best mark in the last four seasons was just .342. Span's fantasy value has always been tied to his ability to get on base enough to steal bases and score runs, and he can't do it like he used to. Span's walk rate took a sharp dive last season, from 8.3% to 6.3%, but it's been trending downward ever since his rookie season, when he had a healthy 12.2% walk rate. These days, Span is what he was last year: A .275 hitter who will steal 15-20 bases and score 70-80 runs. That's not without value in fantasy, it's just not very exciting either. (
The Quick Opinion:
At the end of the day, there's probably a bench spot for Span in 12-team mixed leagues, and he'll be a fringy starting option in leagues with 14-16 teams. He's a high-floor, low-ceiling fantasy outfielder; he won't be terrible, but he won't be great either.
Span seems underappreciated in real life, but his fantasy value seems to be pegged appropriately by most players. And your view of Span probably depends on what you think of his wheels. He swiped a career high 31 in 2014 at age 30. He combined for 37 in the two seasons before, so betting too heavily on a repeat doesn’t seem wise. Essentially, Span is a three category player: he provides value in runs (especially in Washington), steals, and average; his value in OBP might be a little stunted, but his walk rate is decent. Span was able to have his best season in some time by putting the ball in play more often, while still garnering free passes. His approach worked wonders and he even had a little more pop than in years past. But if the steals fall off, is there really anything else there except for banking on him to cross the plate more than 90 times? (Landon Jones)
The Quick Opinion:
Span is solid, but unspectacular. Expecting him to hit around .280 while swiping 20 or so bags seems like a safe bet. And that can help you, just don’t overpay, because unless he scores a ton of runs that’s all you’re getting.
Denard Span is taking his act to San Francisco. You wouldn’t think that a 32-year old leadoff hitter coming off a hip procedure in 2015 was someone teams were clamoring to open their wallets for, so it's no surprise he didn’t sign until the new year. The health piece is a concern, as less than 300 plate appearances in 2015 isn’t a good sign. It’s a lazy comp, but Michael Bourn definitely comes to mind, and that's not good. Span didn’t bunt his way on once in 2015, and he only swiped 11 bases. On the power front, his .130 isolated slugging percentage was the highest he’s had as a National. You aren’t picking him for his power, obviously, and he’s just one year removed from 39 doubles and 94 runs scored. His eye hasn’t been affected, as his 9.5% strikeout rate just about mirrored his 9.1% walk rate. The tendency is for opponents to pitch him down and away. If he can maintain his speed and take those pitches the other way, he could still be an asset. As Jason Collette pointed out on Sleeper and the Bust, his replacement, Ben Revere, is being taken as the 100th player in early drafts. Span is closer to 300th. Steamer has Span besting Revere in homers, runs, and RBI, but trailing him in average and stolen bases. The gap in average and SB isn’t enough to justify a 200 spot gap. The Giants got Span at a discount, and you certainly can too. As Paul Sporer pointed out on the same pod, Span doesn’t have a murderer’s row behind him, but with a 6-7-8 of Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford and Angel Pagan in front of him, he should have plenty of opportunities to surpass his RBI total. You aren’t picking him for RBI, but it could be a nice sneaky bonus. (Darren Scheinbein)
The Quick Opinion:
Steals are hard to come by, and you won’t find a bunch here. But what’s a bunch? He had 11 last year in an injury-shortened campaign, and he wasn’t caught once. Don’t overpay for Span’s 2014, but you could expect double-digit steals from him, and hope that his hip and core and hernia surgeries were successful and made him younger.
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Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2017 3:34 AM ET
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