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The Curious Case of Daniel Nava

Like everyone here, and apparently in the Red Sox front office, Daniel Nava wasn't even a blip on the radar. He was just a trivia question from 2010. But a few weeks ago, the incompetence of Marlon Byrd, and to a lesser degree Darnell McDonald, drove me to exclaim: "Sit Byrd and just stick in the guy who is doing best in AAA." Then a quick perusal of stats led me to the addendum of, "Even Daniel Nava! Daniel Nava could do better than Marlon Byrd!"

This led to a little derision and the general sentiment of, "Let's give Linares time before Nava".

Now that Nava has succeeded at the MLB level, the general sentiment is, "Ha ha, a nice story but he can't sit at the Adults Table for long." Now generally, a sentiment like this is driven by stats that show an AAAA player being moderatly sucessful, but appears to be playing over his head. And before I looked up his stats I thought that was the case. Normally a 29 year old has very little chance of playing MLB ball. After looking into his minor-league stats and some biographical work, I'm of the opinion that he didn't get enough of a chance. I think he can succeed at the big-league level.

Daniel Nava went undrafted after a single great year in college. He played for the Chico Outlaws and was a success there, and was picked up by the Sox. With only the slightest of blips, Nava has succeeded at every single level he's played at. Even his cup of coffee in 2010 was better than some of the dreck we've sent out every year, Hermida, Cameron, Byrd, DMac.

If Nava was your typical 29 year old minor leaguer, a guy who had been given opportunity after opportunity, then I'd agree with the snap-shot judgements of him. But he isn't. The stats don't lie. When a guy ascends the baseball ladder like he has, you let him keep going until he fails miserably. Another knock I've heard is on his D. I haven't seen it this year, and an article today said the Sox were impressed with the improvements in his defense.

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