Washington Nationals Player Profile: Paolo Espino

mweyrich
Mar 19, 2015; Melbourne, FL, USA; A view of Space Coast Stadium during the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2015; Melbourne, FL, USA; A view of Space Coast Stadium during the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Washington Nationals. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

AAA pitching prospect Paolo Espino will be joining the Nats in Spring Training for the first time in his career after turning heads with his performance in 2015.

On Monday, the Washington Nationals formally announced their 2016 non-roster Spring Training invitees. Among the group is 29-year old Panama-native Paolo Espino, who will be making an appearance at a Major League Spring Training for the first time in his career.

The Indians drafted Espino out of high school in the tenth round of the 2006 MLB June Amateur Draft. He spent seven seasons in Cleveland’s system before joining the Nationals’ organization in 2014.

Espino earned the invite after an impressive 2015 season in which he went 8-9 with a 3.47 ERA and striking out 120 batters across 28 appearances (26 starts) between Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse. After the season, he made ten starts for Caribes de Anzoategui of the Venezuelan Winter League, going 2-3 with a 4.28 ERA.

More from District on Deck

The nine-year minor league veteran has been extremely durable, making at least 24 appearances every year of his career. Espino’s ERA has dropped in each of his last three seasons, and he set a career high in innings pitched in 2015. He spent the first two months of the season in Double-A, but was called up to fill the departed Taylor Jordan’s roster spot after the Nats required his services in Washington.

More from Nationals Prospects

He made quite the impression in his International League season debut when he homered in his second at-bat in addition to pitching seven innings of four-hit ball on May 24 against the Indianapolis Indians (Pittsburgh Pirates). After earning the promotion to Syracuse in late May, Espino remained with the club through the end of the season. He eventually finished second on the team in strikeouts with 88 (Bruce Billings led with 90)

As the current major league rotation is most likely set with the likes of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Joe Ross, and Tanner Roark, Espino’s chances of securing a roster spot are slim. He will most likely often be among the players that travel for away games during Spring Training to spare the veterans the trouble of traveling.

Next: District Daily: Can Baker Help Nats Right Wrongs Of 2015

While he likely won’t be making an impact at the major league level in 2016, it is always refreshing to see a veteran minor league player receive recognition for his contributions on the field. It is certainly an exciting experience for him, and an impressive 2016 season could open up a wide range of possibilities in the future.

facebooktwitterreddit