Red Sox outfielder Daniel Nava is off to a torrid start to the 2012 season. In 40 at-bats over 14 games he’s hitting .350 with an impressive 1.091 OPS.
Among his 14 hits are four doubles and two home runs. Perhaps equally as impressive have been his ten walks to give him a .491 on-base percentage. Nava has scored nine runs, driven in eleven more and picked up a stolen base to round off his hot start.
If you look inside the numbers, there could be cause for concern based on his BABIP of .375, but he’s always maintained a high number.
Nava is not without his flaws. He’s hitting just .125 with a .563 OPS against left-handed pitching. Sure, he’s grilling righties to the tune of .500, 1.421, but his inability to hit southpaws is troubling.
As are his home/away splits. He’s hitting .533, 1.708 at Fenway and .240, .683 elsewhere. He had similar differentials in 2010 with the Red Sox (.207 against lefties, .187 on the road vs. .250 vs. righties, .291 at home).
Perhaps that’s why he’s owned in less than a quarter of fantasy baseball leagues.
Nava crushed Class A-Advanced (.340, .943) and Double-A pitching (.364, 1.047) and held his own at the Triple-A level (.280, .811). He was hitting .316 for Pawtucket prior to his call-up. He’s getting the job done this year, but he does have limited fantasy appeal.
Nava is best used in a serious streaming mode while the Red Sox outfielders (Ellsbury and Crawford) are on the shelf. At this point I would only use him during home games against right-handed starters. Once Ellsbury and Crawford return, Nava will be a left-handed bench player at best.
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