Coming into camp, Danny Espinosa is the Washington Nationals player with the most to prove. As he competes for a spot on the roster, Espinosa knows this is his most important spring training as a big leaguer. So far Espinosa has played with extraordinary effort and has received nothing but praise from manager Matt Williams. However, Nationals’ management and fans only want to know one thing, has Espinosa improved enough with the bat to make an impact on a major league roster?
On the surface, Espinosa’s spring stats seem to describe a hitter who continuously struggles to pick up base hits. Williams, though, believes that a solid approach will lead to better numbers in the future compared to Espinosa’s 4 for 19 start. He struck out 189 times in 2012, and his failure to put the ball in play consistently led to his demotion to triple A Syracuse in the middle of last season.
Fortunately for the Nationals, Espinosa does not appear to be as K happy as he used to be. Espinosa has gone up to the plate 21 times this spring, and has only struck out twice. If Espinosa can continue to cut down on his strikeouts, there is a strong since around the organization that he can once again develop into a talented major league player.
Still, many Nationals fans wonder if Espinosa’s raw talent will translate into real major league games. Unfortunately, it will take until at least April and probably longer to notice Espinosa’s development over the last year. Fans fear that Williams’ confidence in Espinosa is only an attempt to bait another team into trading for him, rather than a true confidence in his ability.
At the very least, Espinosa is looking like a lock to make the opening day roster. If the Nats send him back down to the minor leagues, his trade value will decrease immensely. Espinosa has put in a great deal of time and effort into his swing, both from the left and right side, hopefully his hard work pays off.