According to Ben Goessling of MASNSports.com, Danny Espinosa will be one of the Washington Nationals september call ups:
"Danny Espinosa, a shortstop at Triple-A Syracuse and one of the Nationals' top middle infield prospects, will be among the team's September call-ups, according to a tweet from Espinosa's sister Christina....A scout I talked to last month in Philadelphia said Espinosa's athleticism is just a hair behind Desmond's, though both players have a penchant for making errors. Still, the two of them together could give the Nationals one of the rangiest middle infields in baseball next year, if Espinosa proves he can stick in the big leagues."
Espinosa has been one of the hottest Nationals minor leaguers this year, combining between Harrisburg and Syracuse to hit .268/.337/.464 with 22 homers and 69 RBI while snagging 25 stolen bases in 123 games. While most of Espinosa's power came during his time in Harrisburg (18 homers in 99 games, it seems Espinosa has been better with the bat in Syracuse - batting .295/.349/.463 in 24 games since his promotion.
The 23-year-old shortstop was drafted in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Long Beach State, a school well known for producing top infield talent. In the last decade the school nicknamed "Shortstop U," has produced Bobby Crosby, Troy Tulowitzki and now third baseman Evan Longoria. While Espinosa is strong defensively, it is believed the Nationals will look to play him at second base to cater to current shortstop, Ian Desmond.
This is by no means a surprise, Espinosa has ripped through the minors this year with strong power and good defense. He has, probably most importantly, caught they eye of even average spectators with his flair for the dramatic with home runs. Any fan of a team in last place that has a 23-year-old shortstop crushing bombs in the minors, will look forward to seeing that young man in a MLB uniform.
The call to bring him up is completely logical then. First, it's what the fans want, but also as a 23-year-old who is having the year of his life it makes sense to give him a cup of coffee so that the next time he reaches the bigs he will be ready to be a full-time player. However the concern on this end isn't that they will promote Espinosa and he will fail, but that they will promote him and he will succeed too much. The last thing this young man needs is a fan frenzy in the mold of a Mike Morse, demanding he be put in the lineup in 2011 before he is ready.
Yes, Espinosa's power numbers have been great this year, and while he has managed to muster a respectable batting average his secondary stats have not been promising. Espinosa has a walk rate of 7.5% this season, which is pretty poor. To put that in perspective the league's worst walker, Cristian Guzman, only walked at about 5% in 2010. This, along with his 24% strikeout rate helps him have a troubling OBP between .332 and .349 at his two stops, causes me to worry that he wont have the patience to hit major league hitting...yet.
I think if Espinosa spends another half-a-year to a year in Syracuse there is a good chance he can work on his patience and plate approach so that he will be successful in the majors, there is no need to rush it. On the bright side, if he does learn plate patience, he has the power and range to be a border line all star in the mold of a Dan Uggla, with a WAY better name.