Phillies outfielder Daniel Nava proving to be worthwhile acquisition

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ST LOUIS, MO - JUNE 11: Daniel Nava #25 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates after a solo home run in the seventh inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 11, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Phillies 6-5. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - JUNE 11: Daniel Nava #25 of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrates after a solo home run in the seventh inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 11, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals defeated the Phillies 6-5. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Most expected Daniel Nava to just be a body during spring training but he has been a steady contributor this season for the Phillies.

One of the minor signings the Phillies made during the offseason was bringing in veteran outfielder Daniel Nava. He was productive for a couple seasons in Boston before bouncing around the league during 2015 and 2016. Nava came into camp as a non-roster invitee, but he wasn’t expected to find a spot on the team.

However, Nava managed to find a spot on the roster, beating out Chris Coghlan for the fifth outfielder’s role. It was somewhat of a surprise considering Coghlan’s versatility as an infielder and outfielder.

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Nava has made the decision look good this season. He hit a home run in each of his first two at-bats as a Phillie. His playing time was sparse to start the season but he has worked into the lineup more and more with injuries and the release of Michael Saunders.

More recently, Nava has taken over as the team’s leadoff hitter with Cesar Hernandez out. In ten games in the leadoff spot, Nava has a .367 batting average and .862 OPS.

Nava has been effective hitting second as well with a .923 OPS.

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As a whole this season, Nava has a .313/.408/.430 line in 152 plate appearances. While he doesn’t hit for much power, he gets on base at a high clip with an impressive 13.2% walk rate. Considering few other players have done that this year for Philadelphia, that makes Nava the best option for leading off the team has right now.

Nava’s performance has kept him in the lineup even with the presence of top prospect Nick Williams and breakout performer Aaron Altherr. Manager Pete Mackanin told Matt Gelb of Philly.com that he wants to keep the veteran Nava in the lineup often:

"“I’m going to get him in there as much as possible,” Mackanin said. “He gives us the best at-bats on the team. Quality at-bats. I’m going to get him in there as much as we can.”"

Next: Whatever happened to starter Jake Thompson?

Gelb suggested that the team could trade Nava at some point, but the team needs someone to lead off and get on base, and with Hernandez out for several more weeks, they need Nava.

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