Since the "moneyball" theory took the league by storm in the early 2000's, on-base percentage is thought of in much higher regard.
At the team level, the higher a lineup's on-base percentage, the more dangerous the offense as a whole typically is. The St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers finished in the top three in OBP last season, and all made deep playoff runs in 2012.
Getting runners on base is a pretty obvious key to success. It could very well be the single most important influence in a well-rounded offense.
If you get guys on base, you score runs. If you don’t, you can’t. Whether it's via a base hit or a walk, it’s that simple.
The Washington Nationals finished 12th (.322) last season in overall team on-base percentage, clearly leaving room for improvement.
The addition of speedy center fielder, Denard Span, will help. Generally, a player that excels in this statistical area leads off, which is where Span is anticipated to begin his stint as a Washington National.
He comes in sporting a career .357 on-base percentage, which is considered above average and would rank him in the top 35 in baseball this past season. Span has also gone on record making it clear he wants to improve his stolen-base rate this season. Having speed on the base paths will only be an added bonus to a team with an improved on-base percentage.
If the rest of the Nationals lineup can focus on working the count to get pitches to hit or draw walks, it will elevate the team to the next level.
This team-wide improvement may even catapult them over the 100-win plateau for the first time in franchise history.