Washington Nationals 2015 Player Review: Danny Espinosa

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Going into Spring Training, there were many players on the Washington Nationals’ roster who were expected to do great things and help lead the Nationals to success in 2015. Infielder Danny Espinosa was not one of those players.

Indeed, Espinosa had struggled mightily in recent years and many wondered if he would even make the Opening Day Roster. Espinosa, who was once considered the Nationals’ second baseman of the future, no longer fit into the team’s future plans and certainly was not expected to be a key player in 2015. Of course, this is baseball we’re talking about, so naturally, everyone was wrong.

Not only did Espinosa play a major role in 2015, but for the most part he was one of the few bright spots on a team full of disappointments. Espinosa missed the last couple of weeks of the season with a torn hamstring, but he was a key utility player for the Nationals throughout the season.

The 28-year-old infielder underwent an offensive renaissance in 2015 and performed better with the bat than some of the team’s best players. Espinosa hit .240 with 13 home runs and 37 RBIs in 118 games. It was his highest batting average since 2012, and his home runs were the fourth most of any National League second baseman.

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Espinosa’s offensive output was solid, but his true value to the Nationals came in his versatility. As we know, the team was plagued with injuries all season long. Espinosa not only came off the bench whenever necessary, but he played many different positions to step in for the injured Ryan Zimmerman, Anthony Rendon and Jayson Werth.

In a season when many doubted Espinosa would even make the Opening Day roster, the switch-hitting utility player proved to be one of the team’s most valuable players. And although the Nationals ultimately failed in their goal to return to the playoffs, their disappointing season would have been even worse had Espinosa not been there to step in for many of the team’s injured players.

While Espinosa probably won’t be the Nationals’ starting second baseman next season, he might have a chance to compete for the job next spring since Ian Desmond is expected to leave via free agency this winter. That would leave the Nationals with Yunel Escobar, Espinosa and prospect Trea Turner as options to fill the middle infield positions.

Considering that he’s already one of the best defensive second basemen in the game, a strong offensive showing next spring could help Espinosa get the starting job on Opening day.

B. . INF/OF. Washington Nationals. DANNY ESPINOSA

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