Danny Espinosa
Danny Espinosa
33-Year-Old Second Baseman2B
New York Mets
2020 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Danny Espinosa in 2020. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a one-year, minor-league contract with the Mets in February of 2019.
Sent to minor-league camp
2BNew York Mets  AAA
March 17, 2019
The Mets reassigned Espinosa to minor-league camp Sunday.
Espinosa was a non-roster invitee in camp after signing a minor-league deal with the Mets in February, and his chances to make the Opening Day roster were always slim given the team's infield acquisitions this offseason. The 31-year-old didn't help himself this spring as he went 2-for-30 with one home run.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Danny Espinosa
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Espinosa turned in a 24-homer, nine-steal campaign in 2016, but his career went south in a hurry upon leaving Washington. Even in that career year, he still was a well-below-average hitter as measured by wRC+ (79). Plus defense kept him on the field for 600-plus plate appearances, but his defense slipped in his age-30 season, as did his already-shaky plate skills (7.1 percent BB%, 36.9 percent K%). Espinosa posted just a .232 wOBA, the third-lowest mark among hitters with 250 plate appearances (only Tyler Saladino and Adam Engel were worse), and ended up bouncing around to three teams. He latched on with the Yankees on a minor-league deal in the offseason and will get a chance to compete for the primary job at second base this spring. If Espinosa were to somehow break camp, he would be merely a stopgap at the position, with top prospect Gleyber Torres waiting in the wings.
Espinosa started 157 games at shortstop for the Nationals in 2016, but his relationship with the team became strained this offseason when Washington acquired Adam Eaton, signaling a move for Trea Turner to shortstop. Washington then sent the disgruntled veteran to the Angels. On the field, 2016 was a mixed bag for Espinosa. He hit just .209/.306/.378, but set career highs in home runs and RBI. Espinosa has never been a good hitter for average, with his career high of .247 coming in 2012, so his decrease to .209 was not totally unexpected. He figures to move to second base for the Angels, with Andrelton Simmons having shortstop locked down. Don't expect Espinosa to become something he's not -- he probably won't hit for even a decent average next season -- but at least his playing time should be fairly secure. It's not like the Angels have many quality alternatives.
Espinosa began to find his way out of the wilderness in 2015 following two lost seasons at the plate. After spring training experiments with abandoning switch-hitting went nowhere, he rediscovered his stroke from the left side of the plate and hit a respectable .261/.343/.409 against right-handed pitchers in 88 at-bats. It's a small sample size to be sure, but any offense Espinosa can supply is a bonus as it's his glove that keeps him in the majors. He was outstanding defensively in 81 games at second base last season, and the Nats began transitioning him to a super-utility role by using him at all three other infield spots as well as left field, the first time in his career he's played anything other than second or short. He could open the season as the team's starter at shortstop, while Trea Turner continues to develop, and once Turner is ready to take over, Espinosa could be needed as an injury replacement at another position.
Once upon a time, Espinosa was a promising middle-infield prospect who offered the possibility of 20-20 production while supplying excellent defense at either shortstop or second base. Strikeouts ate his bat, however, as strikeouts are wont to do, and last season's .219/.283/.351 line in 333 at-bats off the Nationals' bench was actually an improvement over what he did in 2013. Buried within that ugly slash line was an extreme split: .301/.374/.485 versus left-handed pitching and .183/.241/.291 versus righties. Espinosa has now indicated that he's finally going to abandon switch-hitting, and while that doesn't mean he'll improve against right-handed pitching, he certainly can't do much worse. If he finds himself in a platoon role, or miraculously discovers that a righty vs. righty matchup isn't all that bad, he could turn his career around yet. The Nats acquired Yunel Escobar to take over at second base, so if Espinosa does find his stroke again, he may have to content himself with a supersub role.
There's no telling whether the complete disintegration of Espinosa's ability to make contact was a product of injuries (he entered the season with a tear in his left rotator cuff and then promptly injured his right wrist) or simply the end result of the same poor approach he's always had. Either way it's hard to imagine he's got much of a major league future after a campaign as awful as his 2013. Still, he's a switch-hitting middle infielder with a slick glove and power potential, so if the Nationals give up on him he'll likely land a bench job somewhere. Stranger things have happened than a player with Espinosa's talent finally figuring things out, but not by much.
His power/speed numbers and eligibility at both middle-infield positions make Espinosa an attractive fantasy target, but there's a major flaw in his game that prevents him from becoming an elite second baseman. He's a switch-hitter in name only, striking out in a ghastly 30.3 percent of his port-side at-bats in 2012, and no matter how you do the rest of the time, there is no way to be really successful when you are spotting pitchers that many outs. Until he learns to make better contact against right-handers, or the Nationals find a platoon partner of some kind for him, he will remain a batting average killer and a player whose performance will never quite match his potential.
Espinosa had an intriguing rookie season putting up numbers similar to his minor league campaigns. He should continue to produce 20 home runs for years to come, however, his OBP is not likely to be above .330 if his strikeout rate remains as high as it was in 2011 (25.2 percent). As a switch-hitter, Espinosa is much stronger from the right side of the plate producing a .373 wOBA, but that was due in part to a much higher BABIP. He has above average range at second base, and should post a similar line with a few more home runs in 2012.
Although he struggled in his big league debut, Espinosa ended up recording a 25 HR-25 SB season over three levels and firmly established himself as a big part of the Nationals' infield future. Ian Desmond's presence means that he'll begin 2011 at second base but Espinosa has plenty of arm for shortstop and might yet end up there down the road, while at the plate his value will be limited somewhat by the amount of empty air in his swing. In fantasy terms though his power-speed combo will make him a very popular figure no matter which middle-infield spot he plays.
Espinosa displayed good power, patience and speed last season at High-A, but he's already 22 years old and hasn't yet shown if his glove will play at shortstop as he moves up. The Nationals would also probably like to see him make more consistent contact, but for now he should comfortably be considered the club's second baseman of the future, with a major league ETA of 2011 or so.
More Fantasy News
Signs MiLB deal with Mets
2BNew York Mets  AAA
February 8, 2019
Espinosa signed a minor-league contract with the Mets on Friday that includes an invitation to major-league spring training.
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Released by Phillies
2BFree Agent  AAA
August 8, 2018
Espinosa was cut loose by Philadelphia on Wednesday, Meghan Montemurro of The Athletic reports.
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Joins Phillies on minors deal
2BPhiladelphia Phillies  AAA
June 22, 2018
Espinosa agreed to a minor-league with the Phillies on Friday.
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Cut loose by Dodgers
2BFree Agent  AAA
May 30, 2018
Espinosa was released by the Dodgers on Wednesday, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports.
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Inks minor-league deal with Dodgers
2BLos Angeles Dodgers  AAA
May 6, 2018
Espinosa signed a minor-league deal with the Dodgers, Bill Plunkett of The Orange County Register reports.
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