Prospect Profile: David Espinosa

One of the more interesting players in the Tigers' farm system is outfielder David Espinosa. After being acquired from the Cincinnati Reds, Espinosa has finally started to show glimpses of his incredible potential that made him a first round draft pick out of high school more than four years ago.

David Espinosa
Position: Outfielder Height: 6-1 Weight: 180
Born: 12/16/1981 Bats: Both Throws: Right

Espinosa was drafted in the 1st round (23rd overall) by the Cincinnati Reds. At the time, Espinosa had fallen dramatically in the draft due to his signing demands. The Reds gave Espinosa a Major League contract in order to get him signed. As a professional, David has struggled with nearly all facets of his game, seeing only minimal progress. The Reds traded Espinosa to Detroit following the 2003 season. Upon arriving in Detroit, David moved from the middle infield to the outfield in hopes of improving his lackluster defensive reputation. Espinosa put together a solid, if injury plagued 2003 campaign with Lakeland, and appeared to be on the road to fulfilling at least some of his original promise. The 2004 season saw the long awaited breakout of a player with tons of potential. Espinosa posted a blazing hot first half, but cooled considerably as the season went on, finishing with a .264/.366/.440 line.

Scouting Report
Espinosa was considered a very raw, five tool talent when drafted, but has yet to live up to that billing. Espinosa has above average speed, developing power, solid strike zone judgment, and a strong arm. While these tools all seem to be at different stages of their development, they are encouraging none-the-less. David has been a consistent base stealing threat since his pro debut, but recently he has improved his judgment and instincts on the bases, becoming a more complete threat. Espinosa's power and plate discipline both took a step forward in 2004, particularly the season's first half. The long awaited power surge finally began to surface last season, seeing David knock 23 doubles and 19 homeruns. Espinosa came into the season noticeably stronger, and the results were impressive. Espinosa's overall offensive package merely lacks consistency at this point. He has developed to a level where he would be a solid offensive contributor at the Major League level, but at age 24, he could still continue making progress towards his high ceiling. Defensively, Espinosa has struggled with the transition to the outfield. Often times, David appears to need a map and compass to find the proper route to fly balls in his direction. If he can improve his outfield instincts through repetition and practice, David has the speed and arm strength to be a very successful right fielder.
























Health Record
Espinosa has battled many minor injuries throughout his career, but none of them appear to be long-term concerns.

The Future
With the signings of DeWayne Wise, Byron Gettis, and Alexis Gomez to help man the outfield with AAA-Toledo, it appears Espinosa will head back to Erie for the 2005 season. Despite his progress in 2004, this will be a good location for David to build from and hopefully earn a promotion later this summer. Espinosa has the potential to be an impact outfielder in the Major Leagues, and he still has time to reach that ceiling. The 2005 season will be David's make or break year. If he continues to develop in all facets of his game, he should be considered a player for the future in Detroit, but if he falters, his star will fade even more, leaving him on the organizational fodder scrap heap.

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