Washington Nationals Editorial: Where Does Danny Espinosa Rank Among Shortstops In The NL East?
By Ricky Keeler
Danny Espinosa – Washington Nationals
Last season, amidst all of the Nationals’ injuries, there was one player who surprised everyone with his consistent offensive performances and that was Danny Espinosa. Espinosa became the everyday second baseman due to Yunel Escobar having to play third base because of Anthony Rendon being injured.
In 118 games, Espinosa had a slash line of .240/.311/.409 with 13 home runs and 37 RBI’s. His .311 on-base percentage and home runs were the third highest he had in a single season. However, ten of those home runs came in the first half of the season (.254 batting average). In the second half, with all of the injured players returning, Espinosa only hit .206 with three home runs and nine RBI’s in 107 at-bats.
As a second baseman last year, Espinosa, who will turn 29 in April, had ten runs saved, which was the highest of any player on the Nationals. The question will be whether or not that defense translates over to shortstop. Espinosa has never played more than 36 games at shortstop in a single season and his best season in terms of defensive runs saved was 2012 (four runs saved).
While it will be good for Espinosa to not have to worry about trying to hit exclusively from one side, like he had to do last year in Spring Training, it will be interesting to see how Espinosa does as an everyday player while Trea Turner is at triple-A Syracuse. I do expect Stephen Drew to play some, but Drew hasn’t hit higher than .250 in a season since 2010.
Next: Number Three