Fantasy Impact: Giants Sign Denard Span
Denard Span signed a three-year, $31 million contract with the San Francisco Giants, replacing Angel Pagan in San Francisco. Span had an injury plagued 2015 season, but, when, healthy had his most productive season since 2009. Posting a .796 OPS, Span had a strong follow-up to his 2014 season where he led the National League in hits with 184. He will provide a stabilizing force at the top of the Giants lineup in front of Buster Posey and Hunter Pence, giving San Francisco a chance to rebound after a weak offensive output in 2015.
Read below for the impact of Span’s move to San Francisco.
Although he is not known for his power, the .431 slugging percentage that Span posted in 2015 was his best since his rookie season of 2008 and he would have been a sure bet for 50 extra base hits last season. Hip and back injuries halted Span last season, but he was on target to be a strong OF3 if he were in the Nationals lineup all year. During the last three seasons, Span was healthy, he averaged 80 runs per season (2012-2014) and saw his stolen bases progressively go from 17 in 2012 to 31 in 2014. A high contact hitter, Span has also averaged 63 walks per season in his career.
Playing in the American League and National League East for the first eight seasons of his career, Span does not have a lot of experience at AT&T Park. In fact, he has only played seven games and has 29 at-bats at his new home. He only has seven hits in San Francisco, but four are for extra bases and he has scored five runs in seven games. Against NL West foes, Span has a .286 batting average in 255 at-bats, posting solid numbers against the Dodgers and Rockies in particular. He has especially thrived against the Dodgers, posting a .856 OPS in 10 games and has hit two home runs at Dodger Stadium. Span also has a .925 OPS in 11 games at Arizona’s Chase Field, the third-best mark Span has at a stadium he has played at least 10 games in.
Span has seen his line drive rate increase throughout his career, peaking at 23.9% in both 2014 and 2015, and he has worked more with hitting the ball to the opposite field over the last couple seasons. He did see his groundball percentage jump back over 50% in 2015, to 50.5%, and saw his BABIP drop from .330 in 2014 to .318 in 2015. Although Span saw these statistics trend negatively, with an 8.8% HR/FB percentage and career-best BB:K ratio, saw Span have his best offensive season. His value as both a baserunner and fielder have fallen off a bit over the last three seasons, as Span stole 20 less bases in 2015 than in 2014, but back-to-back seasons with a .300 batting average or better are good signs for fantasy owners.
Coming off of an injury, fantasy owners need to be wary of Span’s recovery, but he could be a good bounce-back player. Span may be more of an OF3 this season, but he is in a solid Giants lineup and may be in line for a batting average between .280 and .290 with 70 to 80 RBI. Look for him as a later round alternative to a player like Alex Gordon.