Bits: Daniel Nava remains hot 

June, 5, 2013

The top Boston Red Sox outfielder on the Player Rater is stolen-base maven Jacoby Ellsbury, and I think we have a pretty decent idea who he is. Ellsbury is not really the same hitter who bashed 32 home runs in 2011. He’s the guy before that, someone who can steal 50 bases but also miss playing time here and there, and perhaps even more than that. After all, the previous game Ellsbury played in was nearly a week ago, when he terrorized the Philadelphia Phillies for five stolen bases, but apparently hurt his groin badly enough that he’s missed all of the games since. That’s Ellsbury. Hey, that’s really valuable, stealing 50 bases, but he’s not hitting for a lick of power and I don’t expect he will.

Daniel Nava, on the other hand, is hitting for power. On Tuesday night, in a mammoth offensive show against the Texas Rangers, Nava had three more hits, two of them doubles, and scored four runs. With Ellsbury out, Nava's been leading off and showing no signs of regression, but make no mistake, it’s coming. Nava smacked his eighth home run this past weekend at Yankee Stadium and enters Wednesday’s rematch against the Rangers (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) hitting .307 and on pace for 22 home runs, 104 RBIs and 96 runs scored. He doesn’t provide stolen bases, but after being a draft day afterthought and currently tied with Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun for Player Rater value among the top 50 hitters, nobody is complaining.

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Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Daniel Nava has played his way to a regular spot in the Red Sox lineup, but can he keep up the production all season long?