No. 28: Denard Span (17.2 WAR)
The Minnesota Twins had some of the fastest guys in the league in the later part of last decade, but none were as valuable as outfielder Denard Span. Span’s speed was game-changing. He could swipe bases, stretch hits into doubles and triples and hit for average.
Span is top ten in a few categories in Twins history. His .284 average ranks eighth, while he is eighth in triples with 36 and tenth in stolen bases with 90. His five seasons in Minnesota from 2008 to 2012 were quite productive, and it wasn’t just his speed.
Better than the backup.
Span was able to win games over his replacements quite efficiently. During his rookie year in 2008, Span recorded a 4.3 WAR, the second best of his career. His best season was when he put up a 5.0 mark in 2012, which ranked him tenth in the American League for position players. He had a defensive WAR of 2.4 that season, as well, which was good for third in the American League.
Span recorded WAR numbers under 2.0 just once during his time with the Twins, and was the most valued outfielder on this team during the time he roamed the outfield at Target Field and the Metrodome. He even helped take the Twins to the postseason twice, going 10-for-28 in 30 postseason plate appearances during two series against the New York Yankees.
Since Span’s departure, the Twins have not had an outfielder as valuable as him. He was a speed threat that could burn you on a ball to the gap. While he has had success during his stops in Washington and San Francisco, his time in Minnesota showed his true value the most.