Based on what Manager Davey Johnson said about Danny Espinosa, the infielder may not be among the Nationals’ September call-ups because he has not made the needed adjustments yet. He could still be among the call-ups if General Manager Mike Rizzo so decides, but Espinosa is hitting .209/.273/.281 in 69 games with Class AAA Syracuse. His agent, Scott Boras, said Espinosa’s struggles are as much about approach.
“Espy would be the first to say that this is a lot about getting something where you feel consistently comfortable in the batter’s box,” said Boras, who was at Nationals Park for the Marlins series. “And he’s a switch hitter, too. So you have to remember sometimes it’s a difficult path.”
Boras believes that Espinosa is indeed healthy, although he was open to ensuring that the infielder’s torn rotator cuff hasn’t worsened during the season. Espinosa was hit by a pitch on the right wrist on April 14, an injury that Espinosa felt has affected him most this season. He played with a fractured wrist for over a month before it was correctly diagnosed. Espinosa didn’t feel fully recovered from the wrist injury until later this summer with Syracuse. Espinosa has said his shoulder feels strong with all his rehab work. In early August with Syracuse, Espinosa was hit on the thumb and missed two games.
“Danny is a gamer,” Boras said. “He tried to play through that. Then he got a thumb thing down in Triple-A. It hampered him a bit. When you see a major league go through this process – I’ve had it happen many times – what can happen from one year to the next is a lot about getting a psychology, a self-understanding. And the skill level reasserts itself.”
The Nationals believe Espinosa has the ability to be a power-hitting infielder who is athletic enough to steal bases and play stellar defense. And, according to Boras, other teams have seen some of that, too.
“We all know he has phenomenal major league tools to play shortstop or second base in the big leagues,” he said. “Believe me, every park I go into people ask me about Danny. They want to know what he’s doing. Other teams. This guy has real value. The thing is that he has to go through and find an approach to be become very consistent. The great thing is that when you’re that good of a defender and that kind of tools you don’t have to be a great hitter. You have to have an approach, which is what I think he’s trying to gain down in Triple-A.”