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Nationals promote Danny Espinosa to Syracuse

The Nationals promoted infielder Danny Espinosa from Class AA Harrisburg to Class AAA Syracuse, sending one of their most promising prospects one level from the majors and, perhaps, setting him up for a September call-up.

"He's earned the opportunity," Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said. "This is an opportunity for us to expose him to a higher level. We felt he deserved it."

After struggling through an injury early in the season, Espinosa has been an offensive force. Since July, Espinosa has hit .288 with a .488 slugging percentage. For the season, he ranks fifth in the Eastern League with 18 home runs and eighth with 20 stolen bases. Earlier this week, he hit three home runs in one game, including a game-winner in the 10th inning.

Espinosa, the Nationals' third-round draft choice in 2008, could be on a progression similar to the path Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond took last season. Desmond began the year in Class AA, moved to Class AAA and eventually came up to the Nationals in September. He built on the late-season cameo this spring and claimed the starting role in Washington.

It's worth pointing out that the Nationals are unsettled for 2011 at second base, but penciling in Espinosa would be getting too far ahead of things. The Nationals have yet to decide even if they'll promote Espinosa in September.

"We really haven't gotten that far," Harris said. "Certainly, this puts him one step away from the majors. But at this point we aren't building it in that direction."

Espinosa's success this year owes to the "tremendous adjustments" he's made with the assistance of Harrisburg hitting coach Troy Gingrich, Harris said. Espinosa made a slight change with where he held his hands in his stance, which improved how well he could cover the entire plate, particularly from the left side. (Espinosa is a switch-hitter.)

"His attention to detail is fantastic," Harris said. "He's really taken off."

With Espinosa gone from Class AA, Ryan Tatusko will make his Harrisburg debut. Tatusko, one of the right-handed starters the Nationals acquired from the Rangers in the Cristian Guzman trade, went 9-2 with a 2.97 ERA, 58 strikeouts and 40 walks in 100 innings for Class AA Frisco.

By Adam Kilgore  |  August 6, 2010; 4:15 PM ET
Categories:  middle infield , minors & farm system  | Tags: Danny Espinoza  
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Next: Today's lineup


Great to see Danny's progress, especially since he is a SS (or middle infielder) with power. The Nats do have some position players coming along, with Harper as a spectacular addition.

The trick is to retain the MLB performers the Nats do have (primarily Dunn at this point of course), so that the entire program moves forward. if you let the good ones go, then the Nats are forever starting over, with last place as the too-comfortable starting point. A winning environment should be cultivated.

Posted by: EdDC | August 6, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Danny, enjoy your cup of coffee (District of Columbian Supremo) in Washington in September, it will have to last you a long time.

Posted by: tailwagger | August 6, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

NICE, cant wait to see you in september. marrero shouldent be to far behind!

Posted by: arizonacardinalsfan1 | August 6, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

The Nats entire future is based on minor league prospects. How did Detweiller pan out? How about getting and fielding some bonified major league players. Now that would be an idea--huh??!!

BTW the Orioles already surpassed the Nats in the managing position. While Rizzo was staying the company line with the good ole interim RIggleman, the Os made a bold and excellent decision. Buck will manage rings around Riggs. The Nats will regress next year under Rizzo and Riggs and the Orioles will take leaps and bounds forward. Bank it.

Posted by: skins_fan_22 | August 6, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

@skins_fan_22: How has getting bona fide players worked out for the Redskins? Not so good, huh? Isn't it a little soon to pull the plug on Detwiler after 19 appearances (17 starts)? Your beloved Skins of course could go through three quarterbacks and a couple of coaches in 19 games. Do us a favor and stick to Redskins Insider.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | August 6, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Please don't feed the (bona fide) you-know-whats.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | August 6, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey Gang-yea, it's me...not on my own computer. Wow! Spirited debate a thread back. Don't recognize yer handle, Fairfax, but welcome to the Gang (you're in good hands with Peri, Balto and the rest!) Remember that there are lots of us who, while pretty astute about baseball...well, at least in my case I use VERY rose colored glasses at times. And also, sometimes (out of frustration) my lenses are WAY too dark.
Lots of smart, passionate folks here...and however briefly, nice to see Souldrummer drop by. I think I see what he means vis a vis threads, as this little blurb is for AK's LAST post and if I put it there, who knows who'd see it. I read tons of stuff baseball related, though, and a few of you crop up. Soul ain't the only Gangster who's really informative/enjoyable to read (in other locales). But...this is home...pretty much the only place I comment (STILL can't get on over at Insider!)And down on the Farm-wish The Rizz was here 3 years ago. Ah, well....I'm telling you, next year and we are IN THE HUNT! A Dunn deal, I'm tellin' ya! Ha!!
Go Nats!!!

Posted by: zendo2 | August 6, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

Good advice, natsfan1a1.

Posted by: SorenKierkegaard | August 6, 2010 6:26 PM | Report abuse

Is AK really leaving zendo2?

Posted by: periculum | August 6, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

No, I think that he means AK put up a comment in an earlier thread. That's kind of the challenge. Do you put it in the earlier thread where he may or may not read it? Refreshing all the different threads to see the last comment is clunky. Or do you put in this thread where other readers can't easily see it?

That's the kind of stuff I mean about the WaPo interface being clunky. Good news is that Kilgore puts lots of stuff and he writes everyday. His primary job is generate stories for the print and online editions. Bad news is that the blogchild aspect of the job is tough to maintain, especially with a clunky environment.

Posted by: souldrummer | August 6, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Souldrummer, et. al.

I have struggled with this posting problem myself. Sometimes, I am the last post on thread that has been superceded by a new AK post, other times, I post on new thread on a "reposted from last thread" or "off thread" basis. What to do?

Sec 204 Row H Seat 7

Posted by: adhardwick | August 6, 2010 7:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm psyched to see the Danny and Desi show. We could have two middle infielders with speed and pop -- as long as they can routinely make the routine plays.

The problem is that Espinosa has played SS exclusively in the minors. At some point one of these guys needs to move to 2b.

Posted by: Drew8 | August 6, 2010 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I had no clue Espinosa has such power. That's reason for optimism.
Meanwhile, Desmond might make a better second baseman than shortstop, though I fear his problem is mental, and he'll have to bring his head wherever he goes.

Posted by: jdsp2000 | August 6, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

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