Nationals Opinions: Five Players To Watch This Spring

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Aug 31, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar (11) throws the ball for a double play against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yunel Escobar

As I mentioned before, Escobar is an intriguing name to watch because of the position change he is making this Spring. Barring the Nationals making a trade involving Ian Desmond, the 32-year old Escobar is going to be playing second base for the first time since he was with the Atlanta Braves in 2007.

Escobar’s fielding is going to be a question mark coming into Viera because of his inconsistency at shortstop. After finishing with the best fielding percentage by a shortstop in 2013, his 2014 season had him making the fifth most errors (16) of any player at the position.

As far as the offense goes, Escobar’s average has been over .250 each of the last three seasons, including a .258 batting average in 137 games last season. Can he build off the solid second half he had last year, where he hit .271 with three home runs and 17 RBI’s (Escobar hit .249 in the first half).

While there won’t be a competition at second base between him and Danny Espinosa, there is some intrigue as to whether or Espinosa can improve his swing by focusing on hitting from only the right side.

If that were to happen, could Mike Rizzo end up flipping Escobar late in the Spring for another piece that can help the team? Either way, the player that the Nationals got in the Tyler Clippard trade will be an interesting one to watch whether its to improve the lineup or improve the team via a trade down the road.

Next: Dan Uggla?