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Danny Espinosa to play second base

Class AAA Syracuse infielder Danny Espinosa will play second base tonight for the first time, a potentially significant sign for his future with the Nationals. Before Syracuse's game tonight, Espinosa had played only shortstop in his minor league career.

His appearance at second base suggests the Nationals may envision a future double-play combination of Espinosa, one of their most promising prospects, and rookie shortstop Ian Desmond. With the Nats' future uncertain at second base, it seems Espinosa could compete for the starting position as soon as next season.

Espinosa, who played the majority of this season at Class AA Harrisburg, has enjoyed a breakout offensive season. He is one of only two players in professional baseball at any level, along with Chris Young of the Arizona Diamondbacks, to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases this season. Since joining Syracuse, Espinosa has gone 11 for 45 with three home runs, three steals, a double, a triple and three walks.

The Nationals selected Espinosa in the third round of the 2008 draft.

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 16, 2010; 7:18 PM ET
Categories:  middle infield , minors & farm system  | Tags: Danny Espinosa  
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Comments

I was hoping to see Ian at second some day!

Posted by: Section314 | August 16, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Hope we get to see Espinosa and Ramos behind the plate come September. Not to mention Maya and JZimmermann on the mound.

Posted by: Natmeister | August 16, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

@Natmeister: Don't hold your breath waiting for Espinosa to show up next month. The Nationals do not have to expose him to the Rule 5 draft this year (where he needs to be on the 40 man roster or exposed to the draft), but they would have to put and then keep him on the 40 man roster if they bring him up next month.
The Nats will have some hard choices on the 40 man roster this winter, so keeping Espinosa off this roster makes one fewer decision the team has to make.
Brian at NFA noted this a couple of weeks ago.

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Not a good sign at all for our future at shortstop, Espinosa was supposed to be the guy, I have no confidence that Desmond will ever be a servicable long term answer.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | August 16, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

No need to bring him and start his arbitration clock in September. I would guess he won't be up until June of next year. Kind of like they did with SS this year.

I wish they would move Desmond and keep Espinosa at short. Its OK, Espinosa is very good and I think Desmond will get better.

Posted by: jeffreyt211 | August 16, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Not a good sign at all for our future at shortstop, Espinosa was supposed to be the guy, I have no confidence that Desmond will ever be a servicable long term answer.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | August 16, 2010 8:54 PM
__________________

Maybe this has been noted before, but a rookie SS in 1993 had 22 errors (Desmond has 27 currently) and has had a pretty decent career...

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

1993? You mean 1996? His career has been good, but do you think that guy is a good fielder?

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | August 16, 2010 9:34 PM | Report abuse

@Natmeister (& others):
September 2010 is too early for Espinosa, imo. The team will add him to the 40-man (along with a number of others) sometime shortly after Oct. 6 (end of 2010 season).

The 2B exposure for Espinosa in SYR gives the Nats a preview of whether or not he can adapt to the position. The Nationals' near future (2011-2014) at 2B-SS will most likely involve some combination of Desmond, Espinosa, AGonz or Lombardozzi, with players like Kobernus, A.Sanchez, Hague, Kelso, H.Jimenez, R.Perez, J.Rodriguez, & others laying in wait.

The future may not be right now, but it's not that far away either.
Think about a 2012 roster that looks something like this...
CA- Ramos; Norris.
1B- Dunn.
2B- Lombardozzi / Espinosa.
3B- R.Zimmerman.
SS- Espinosa / Hague.
LF- Bernadina.
CF- Desmond / E.Perez.
RF- Burgess / Hood.
=12
SP- Strasburg, J.Zimmermann, Maya, Brad Peacock, Milone.
RP- Clegg, Stammen, Clippard, Wilkie, Holder, Rosenbaum, Demmin, Storen.
=13

Probably 40% of the names listed here are replacable, but I hope you get my drift - The Organization is getting both younger, and better through the draft.

Posted by: BinM | August 16, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

1996...I stand corrected...and yes, I think he has been...
I always look at the all around play. Jeter has been a great all around player. Some fielding years have been better than others and some hitting years have been better than others.

If Desmond can have a career like Jeter has at SS, would anyone on this board complain?

Posted by: TimDz | August 16, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Desmond's defensive movements are too jerky, he has a long way to go to reach Jeter's level, I don't see that happening.

Also, for every one player who had a rough start and ended up having a fine career there are a thousand players who had a rough start and quietly faded away. Desmond needs to focus on his offense and learn a less demanding position.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | August 16, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

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