Danny Espinosa (.239, 18 home runs, 49 RBI’s)
Throughout the early portion of the season, everyone was wondering when Trea Turner was going to get called up to play shortstop, which would mean Espinosa would lose his job. The Washington Nationals shortstop only had one home run and his .185 in April and his May batting average wasn’t much better (.209).
Then, in the month of June, Espinosa caught fire at the plate. He hit .309 with nine home runs, 21 RBI’s, and had a .418 on-base percentage. His 21 RBI’s were tied for tenth in the National League and tied for third in home runs. Now, he has 18 home runs and is second on the team in that category behind Bryce Harper (19).
By far, his best series of the season was against the Reds from June 30-July 3. In those four games, Espinosa had four home runs (two grand slams) and had 15 RBI’s. In fact, 16 of his 49 RBI’s this season have come against the Reds (six home runs)
Espinosa’s value has also been a plus on the defensive side. His five defensive runs saved are the sixth highest of any shortstop in the National League (according to Fangraphs). With Murphy not being the greatest fielding second baseman out there, Espinosa has provided good defensive stability at the shortstop position.
Baker stuck with Espinosa through the rough patches and that has paid off as Turner has been playing some outfield up at triple-A Syracuse. For now, it doesn’t look like Espinosa will be losing that starting shortstop spot anytime soon.
Next: Shawn Kelley