In the past two weeks everyone has learned Daniel Nava's name. He went from a nobody who would be stuck in AAA for eternity to a Red Sox Nation hero in one pitch. From then, he's only continued to impress, reaching base in every game since joining the major league club (10 games) with seven (important) doubles already and one (very memorable) home run on his first major league pitch. He's even had Remy coin a word- Nava-mania, since coming to the major leagues.
Frankly, this is all par for the course for a player who has been underestimated his whole life, cut from his college team, undrafted, and then finally found success in the Independent Leagues. After being rated the #1 independent prospect by Baseball America, he was finally signed by the Red Sox, and absolutely skyrocketed his way through the minor leagues, not posting an average under .339 or an OPS under .929.
That said, his whole pro career, up until this year, he's been facing players younger than himself. Finally in AAA, he managed, in 54 games, to post a line of .294/.364/.492. This, in combination with his reputation for seeing balls and swinging at strikes, was enough to warrant him a promotion to the big Leagues a couple of weeks ago when yet another Red Sox went down. So far, he's been more than they could have imagined.
Showing no signs of a slump when moving up levels, he has so far managed a line of .382/.447/.676 with the Boston club, including an impressive showing last night against Rockies Ace, Ubaldo Jimenez, with two doubles. If he keeps it up at this pace, there is no way that he'll ever see the minor leagues again, but then we all remember the hot start Darnell Mcdonald got off to with Boston, before falling to mediocrity.
So is this sustainable? so far it's hard to say with such a small sample size. He HAS shown some regression (despite what it might seem) in that his walks have gone down since reaching the majors while his strikeouts have gone way up (including a good amount of swinging strikes). It will be interesting to see how this changes as the league learns to adapt to him.
So far, his BABIP is absurdly high (.455) but is supported at least to a point by his awesome LD% of 22.7%. Basically, so far, he has either struck out or put the ball in the outfield, which is due to change eventually, probably quite soon. At the same time, his track record in the minors suggests that we're going to see a player similar to the player we have seen the last 10 games, just with a little regression.
So what do you think? Does Nava have what is takes to stik around at the major league level? If so, as a starting outfielder or as a fourth outfielder?