By Benjamin Barker — 3/9/2011
He sees the first pitch of the game. Being a leadoff hitter in the MLB comes with a lot of added pressure. For the Minnesota Twins, that pressure falls on the shoulders of Denard Span.
In three seasons with Minnesota, Span has hit for a respectable .286 average. But the statistic that really stands out is his on base percentage. Leadoff hitters are counted on to reach base more than anyone else in the order. Span has done a good job of that, collecting a .367 on base percentage during his time as a Twin. That number falls just nine points fewer than 10-time All-Star, Ichiro Suzuki.
Getting on base may be the most important part of Span’s job, but he thinks his defense is just as important. “[I need to] make the routine play and throw to the right bases and play smart baseball out in the outfield.” said Span.
Last season, the Twins won 93 games with Span at the top of the order. That was good enough to capture the American League Central Division Title. This season, Span will be right back in his usual spot. If his success continues, the Twins may be looking at another trip to the postseason.