The Washington Post

The Nationals want Danny Espinosa bunting more

Espinosa dropped a clinical push bunt down the third base line, keeping the ball just on the edge of the grass and the dirt. Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez charged in two steps before he stopped – he knew his only chance would be the ball rolling foul. It didn’t, and Espinosa had a base hit.

Espinosa leads the Nationals with seven bunt hits this season, but both Manager Davey Johnson and General Manager Mike Rizzo have spoken to Espinosa about bunting more often for hits, Johnson said. Johnson believes it could help Espinosa shed his recent slump.

“With his talent, he loves to swing the bat,” Johnson said. “He’s a potent threat with the bat. But, you know, Rod Carew was a great hitter also, and he could bunt .300. Espi could do the same thing. It also makes the defense crowd him a little. … He doesn’t use that weapon nearly enough.”

When Espinosa played at Class AA Harrisburg, Johnson said, he would often bunt while in the midst of an offensive struggle. Johnson also suggested he may ask Espinosa to bunt for a hit in sacrifice bunt situations, giving him a chance to reach base while advancing a runner if he doesn’t reach base.

The argument against Espinosa bunting is simple. He has hit a home run every 23 at-bats in his career while slugging .422, and bunting robs him of the chance to drill an extra-base hit. Only Michael Morse has hit more home runs than Espinosa, so removing his power threat is significant.

“They’re going to pitch him tough,” Johnson said. “They realize the threat he poses. The bunt, it’s a weapon. With the all the emphasis on offense, the home run, all that, I think it’s a weapon that’s a little bit of a lost art.”

Adam Kilgore covers national sports for the Washington Post. Previously he served as the Post's Washington Nationals beat writer from 2010 to 2014.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
It's in the details: Five ways to enhance your kitchen makeover
Play Videos
Drawing as an act of defiance
A fighter pilot helmet with 360 degrees of sky
Border collies: A 'mouse trap' for geese on the National Mall
Play Videos
Bao: The signature dish of San Francisco
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
What you need to know about Planned Parenthood
Play Videos
How to save and spend money at college
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
Europe's migrant crisis, explained