Drafted in the third round (87th overall pick) out of Long Beach State
Bats: Switch-Hitter Throws: Right Height: 6' 0" Weight: 190 pounds Birth Date: April 25, 1987 (21)
The Nationals have a couple of shortstop prospects coming through the system - namely Esmailyn Gonzalez and Ian Desmond - but there's always room for one more. Danny Espinosa hopes to nudge his way into the shortstop battle and has enough skills that he could make for some interesting decisions down the road, especially if he develops the way the Nationals figure that he will. The best comparisons are in fact, to Desmond, who was drafted with the 84th overall pick four years ago, while Espinosa went with the 87th overall pick this year.
Hitting For Power: There is hope that Espinosa will develop some power, especially from the right side, but he never truly figures to be a true power hitter. Instead, he'll be the type of hitter that will occasionally turn on a pitch or take advantage of a mistake that a pitcher throws up there, but won't be known as a power hitter.
Hitting For Average: Espinosa is a natural right-handed hitter and is much further along offensively from the right side than from the left. He's got a simple, short swing from the right side, but he hasn't been completely able to duplicate it from the left side of the plate yet. In fact, there are some holes that will have to be closed when he's up there against right-handers, but it's nothing that can't be fixed. He should be a tough out and has the ability to spray the ball all over the field.
Speed: While he doesn't have a lot of speed, Espinosa is at least smart enough to realize it and doesn't run into many outs. He'll swipe a base here and there, but not with any frequency worth noting.
Arm Strength: There is plenty of strength and accuracy in Espinosa's arm to make the long throw from deep in the hole and he does it on a regular basis with no problem. His arm is accurate and he has the ability to throw from off-balance and still get the ball to where it needs to be.
Defense: There isn't a lot that's flashy about Espinosa, but he makes the routine plays and will occasionally make a dazzling play. His range left to right isn't the best, but it's just a tick under average and he makes up for that with good defensive instincts. Where he excels is when he has to come in to make a play or when he has to make an off-balance throw to complete the play. The bottom line is that when a ball is hit to him, he's going to make the play.
Summary: In drafting Espinosa, the Nationals aren't expecting to get a Jimmy Rollins type player who will hit for power and make dazzling plays. Instead, they're looking more at getting a solid, everyday player who won't hurt you in any part of the game and is occasionally going to do something to make a positive difference in a game. He's consistent and you can't beat his work ethic or his love for the game. He's coachable and has all the tools to be a quality starting shortstop in the Major Leagues.
What he's saying: Coming into the draft, there was a lot made about the fact that Long Beach State had produced a long line of quality shortstops; Chris Gomez, Bobby Crosby, Troy Tulowitzki and Even Longoria had all spent some time at short for the Long Beach State "Dirtbags". So, what did Espinosa have to say when he was asked about the bloodlines? "I can't put that extra pressure on myself: I just go out and play as hard as I can every day. If people like what they see, great." he told the L.A. Times.