Danny Espinosa has been tearing it up at the plate, and his recent dominance earned him our Washington Nationals Player of the Week honors for the week of June 6-12.
When the Washington Nationals called up Trea Turner to replace Ryan Zimmerman while he was on the paternity list, fans and pundits alike started asking the same questions we’ve been hearing since Spring Training: Is Turner here to stay? Is the team going to part ways with Espinosa? Did Espinosa already lose the starting shortstop job?
Espinosa has never had an easy ride with the Nationals. He was once considered the team’s second baseman of the future, but was constantly relegated to a bench role as other players outperformed him and his stock with the team plummeted.
More from District on Deck
- Latest DraftKings Sportsbook Promo Code in Maryland: Bet $5, Win $200 Guaranteed
- Nationals Claim Jeter Downs Off Waivers
- Washington Nationals Minor League Spotlight: Robert Hassell III
- Washington Nationals Tuesday Q&A
- 3 Free Agents the Nationals Should Gamble On
This season, he finally had a chance to be the team’s everyday shortstop — with Ian Desmond gone and Turner honing his skills in the minors, the Nationals turned to Espinosa because, frankly, they didn’t have any other choice.
For Espinosa, the 2016 season was a chance to prove his worth to the team. For everyone else, Espinosa simply represented a place holder for Turner, who would inevitably earn an early-season call-up to replace a slumping Espinosa.
But things haven’t quite worked out that way.
Espinosa — he of the Gold Glove-caliber defense, mediocre batting average, excessive strikeouts and sneaky pop — has suddenly turned into one of the team’s most valuable hitters. He’s hitting home runs left and right (literally), his batting average is quickly on the rise and he’s helping his first-place team pile on wins.
It took a while for Espinosa to settle in this season —‚he batted .185 in April with just one home run — but, out of nowhere, he’s become a hitting machine. Espinosa has belted eight home runs in his last 15 games. He’s third among NL shortstops with 11 home runs this season, and his batting average has jumped from .196 to .220 in the last five days alone.
Espinosa was especially dominant over the last week, clubbing four homers (including one in yesterday’s win over the Phillies), while batting .370 with five RBIs and 9 runs scored. The Nationals are 6-1 over their last seven games, and Espinosa has been a key part of the team’s success.
Given his production over the last seven days and how hot he’s been at the plate, Espinosa was, without a doubt, the Nationals’ Player of the Week. Only time will tell if his recent streak is a fluke, or a sign of bigger and better things to come.