Results tagged ‘ Danny Espinosa ’
-Danny Espinosa is really, really not coming back to Syracuse. The Nats sprinted to a 3-0 lead. All three of ’em came off Espinosa’s bat. In the third, he roped a double to left off of Javier Vazquez to score Alberto Gonzalez. In the fifth, he switched to the right side against lefty Mike Dunn and blasted a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw. In his three-year career, Espinosa’s power has shone through from both sides of the plate. He has hit a homer every 25.21 at-bats against righties and one every 24.03 at-bats against lefties. Oh, and his third at-bat got him an RBI single, too.
It’s almost October. Can you believe that? I mean, really. Time flies. And how ’bout that weather….it’s really been scorching over the past week.
Wait a second. Why am I treating you, dearest blog reader, like a random person on the elevator? That’s inappropriate. I’m sorry.
For me, it feels like a year since the Chiefs’ season ended when, in fact, it’s been no longer than three weeks at the time of this writing. That Labor Day afternoon in Pawtucket was rather similar to the other finales I’ve ever seen. Some players are excited the season’s over (they get to see their families or, less harmoniously, get to become free agents); others can’t really believe it’s time to put baseball away for half a year. For the manager of the Chiefs, though, the season was not over. Trent Jewett was summoned to the big-league team as an extra coach upon the conclusion of the season. He was reunited there with Wilson Ramos, Joe Bisenius, Collin Balester and the rest of the ex-Chiefs on the Nats’ lineup card. Trent also has under his watch one of his favorite players from his Indianapolis days, the much-in-the-news Nyjer Morgan. Knowing Trent after a season, he’ll work until he finds a way to get Njyjer to stop doing Robin Ventura impersonations
Let’s be honest, the Nats are a haven for former 2010 Chiefs right now. In case you’ve been in football mode, here’s a rapid-fire what-are-they-now:
RHP Collin Balester: Owns a major-league ERA of 2.12 in 14 appearances. Has not allowed a run of any kind in 12 innings and a third, dating back to August 3rd. He’s getting 2.5 ground balls for every fly ball. We told you in late July he seemed to have bought into the reliever concept and turned a corner. Looks like that shoe still fits.
RHP Joe Bisenius: Has allowed just one run in four appearances–a solo homer for Carlos Ruiz against Bisenius’ former team, the Phillies. In August, when we were in Louisville, I rode over to the park with Greg Booker and Bats outfielder Dave Sappelt. When I came upon Book and Dave, they were talking about a reliever from the previous night whom Sappelt couldn’t believe was in the minors. That man was Joe Bisenius.
RHP Yunesky Maya: Has made four starts. Has lost three of them. Has thrown no more than 92 pitches and has finished six innings only once. Throws so many breaking balls–a scout told me that Maya’s going to have to mix in the fastball more if he’s going to have any chance to be successful. Keep showing the breaking stuff, the scout said, and MLB hitters will be all over it.
OF Michael Morse: .296, 13 HR, 38 RBI. Has walked in seven of his last eight games. Most people involved with the Chiefs–and listeners alike–know that I like Michael Morse and his game. When he was rehabbing in Toledo, though, Morse gave me a reason to appreciate him even more. Talking to me for our On-Deck Show, Morse told me that he had finally figured out what he was–he’s someone that can play a number of positions at the big-league level and who should have success. That’s why he was so down about his early-season injury. He knew he was going to have a monster season. Changed his mindset completely in the offseason, he said. Good for him.
C Wilson Ramos: Has a hit in five straight at the time of this writing. Battered knuckleballer R.A. Dickey for a homer and a double on September 8th against the Mets.
IF Danny Espinosa: With Jordan Zimmermann on the mound on September 6th, Espinosa hit a pair of homers, including a grand slam. Jim Riggleman had this to say, “It’s one of those days where you really feel good about the direction the organization is going, you know, Zimmermann’s out there, young athletic guys are out there, everybody’s swinging the bat…It was a good day. It’s a statement for the organization that, as we say, “there is light at the end of the tunnel.” Coincidentally enough, that day was one of two in 21 appearances in which Espinosa played his natural position, shortstop. In each of his other starts, Espinosa has manned second base. In the two games in which Espinosa has been the shortstop, Ian Desmond has not been in the lineup.
Football note of the week: Congrats to F-M’s Hornets on starting the season at 4-0 with a win over Utica-Proctor Friday. The offensive line opened up more holes than Woodward and Bernstein in the ’70s.
Travel note of the week: I found out Saturday morning that I didn’t know what metal detectors actually detect. A TSA agent at the conveyor belt at Hancock Saturday morning asked me if my belt usually sets off the alarm. “No,” I said, never having to take off my belt previously. I amble through the gray checkpoint and the siren sounds. I wonder silently if the agent who asked that question is some sort of warlock. I take off my belt, put it in a circular tub for screening and walk through again. I’m clean.
As I stride to gate 21, I place my phone back in my left pocket. As I do so, my hand lands on the perp. I had detached my Alliance Bank Stadium key from my ring for the trip to Syracuse. Mathematically, then:
Belt = no alarm
Key = no alarm
Belt + key = alarm
I would have bet a lot of money that metal detectors scoured my person for types of metal, not a volume of metal. That’s obviously not the case.
Stupid Benetti moment of the week: As I fished my license out of my pocket so the gatekeeper with the fluorescent light at security could verify that I indeed am me, I realized I still possessed the keys to my rental car. No, Jason, you can’t keep the tomato-red Chrysler Sebring.
Hey, and check out the front page of syracusechiefs.com. Those nifty retro jerseys from Throwback Thursday are up for auction along with some Strasburg bric-a-brac. I think you’ll see something you like.
Oh, before I forget, the offseason does not exist for my email. Send your notes or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. If it’s a hard question, I may refer you to the appropriate quiz on sporcle.com.
As the end of July looms near and the Chiefs are in the
midst of the International League playoff hunt, it seems like a good time to
take a look at some of the players who may join the Chiefs as the playoffs come
September 1st–far away today but really will be
here tomorrow (the older you get, the clearer that becomes), is the day that
Major League rosters expand to 40 players. While this doesn’t mean much today
for the Syracuse roster, it could be significant down the road. Current Chiefs
players on the 40-man roster include: Justin Maxwell (four trips to the bigs
this season), Carlos Maldonado (played in 4 games with the Nats between May and
June), Collin Balester (with Washington as of today), Jesse English, Atahualpa
Severino, and Shairon Martis.
If those players go up come September, that means players
from within the Washington farm system could find themselves moving up to
Syracuse. Josh Wilkie, now a staple of the Chiefs bullpen, didn’t arrive at
Alliance Bank Stadium until July 25th of last season.
To find out about some of the players who might rise, I
spoke with Terry Byrom, the radio broadcaster of the Harrisburg Senators, the
Nationals Double-A affiliate. He’s in his sixth season with the Senators and
has an extensive knowledge of the Nationals of the future.
The first player to talk about was shortstop Danny Espinosa.
He was a third round pick out of Long Beach State University, which has quite a
history of producing major league ready infielders including Evan Longoria and
Last year with Advanced-A Potomac (suddenly that’s the hot
place to be if you want to end up in Syracuse–see Leatherman, D. Whiting, B.)
he hit .264 with 18 HR, 72 RBI, and 29 SB.
“There’s no one area of his game we look at and say,
‘Boy, we need to make huge strides quickly here,’ because he’s polished in all
areas. And you just don’t see middle infielders with his type of arm
strength,” said then Potomac manager Trent Jewett to the Washington Post
This season he’s batting .258 with 14 HR, 41 RBI and 18 SB
“I think right now he’s a very good defensive infielder and
I would say his glove is better than his bat. Having said that, his bat is
awfully good. I think he’s starting to figure out the pitching and for guys
that come up from “A” ball it’s just a series of adjustments that need to be
made,” said Byrom.
Espinosa earned himself a spot on the roster for the Futures
Game earlier this month. As Espinosa does advance through the system though,
his position could change, Byrom says.
The Nationals already have 2009 Chief Ian Desmond as their
starting shortstop, but that doesn’t worry Espinosa who played some second base
during spring training.
“Whether I play second or short, I’d just rather be up
there. I don’t really care. I’d like to play short, but if the team thinks I’m
going to play second base better and I can help with second base more than
short, that’s the decision and I’ll roll with that and I’m fine. I’m totally
happy with that. I just want to make it up there,” Espinosa told Adam Kilgore
of the Washington Post last month.
The Chiefs have used four different shortstops this year
with Pedro Lopez (41 games) playing the most of anyone in that spot.
Another player who may be a Chief not before long is first
baseman Chris Marrero. A first round pick out of high school in Miami in 2006,
he could be a big part of the Washington future. Marrero’s advancement may
depend on whether or not Adam Dunn is still a National after the July 31st
Marrero spent parts of 2007, 2008 and 2009 with Advanced-A
Potomac before making the jump to Double-A last season and playing in 23 games
with the Senators for whom he hit .267.
Now with almost a full season of Double-A baseball under his
belt, Marrero is hitting .297 with 13 HR and 58 RBI along with 19 doubles.
Plus, he’s hot now–in June he hit .359, and in July he’s hitting .333.
Byrom says it was about Marrero adjusting to a higher level
after nearly three seasons in Woodbridge, VA.
“I think the Nationals felt that he needed to show some
consistency at the plate and ever since May 1st he’s been
incredible. He’s second in the Eastern League in hits, he’s much better at
first base and he just looks more comfortable there than he did last year. He
has worked really hard on his defense. He has gone from a power hitter who is
serviceable at first base, to one who can end up being a pretty good defensive
first baseman. Most of his errors have actually come on throws, but he’s gotten
a lot better at picking balls out of the dirt. I’d say the biggest thing he’s
improved on is receiving poor throws from the infield. He’s young and will only get better.”
Ever since Josh Whitesell (40 starts at first and at the
time a team leading 34 RBI) left for Japan, the Chiefs have rotated between
Chris Duncan (on the DL), Jason Botts, Chase Lambin, and even Bill Rhinehart at
first base. A combination of two power bats in Botts and Marrero could be
lethal for a late season run at the playoffs.
The last player we looked at was pitcher Tom Milone, who
leads Harrisburg in wins this season with a 7-5 record and a 3.08 ERA. A Rule 5 draft pick out of USC in 2008, he pitched
opposite former Nationals draftee Aaron Crow in the summer of 2007 in the Cape
Cod Baseball League and was named the Pitcher of the Year. (Crow is now with
the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the Double-A affiliate of the Royals.)
Milone draws some comparisons to John Lannan but has made his mark in the minors due to his control of his pitches. Through
the 2009 season, he had struck out 155 batters and walked just 45. In addition,
he’s moved quickly through the system spending just six games with Vermont in
2008 and the rest of that season in Hagerstown. Last year he was 12-5 with a
2.91 ERA at Potomac.
“Tom is a lefthander that will throw into the low 90’s and
so he’s not a guy that just kicks around and uses off-speed stuff. He’s also
not afraid to go inside on right-handed hitters. For a lefty that’s pretty
important. This year he has pitched himself onto (the Nationals) radar. He was
on their radar before, but now he is being thought of as a guy that could crack
the rotation in the Majors,” Byrom said.
Syracuse has put together a reliable rotation with Shairon
Martis, Matt Chico, Jeff Mandel, Erik Arnesen and Jason Jones, but two of those
players (Martis and Chico) both have Major League experience. Nobody, including
Collin Balester, knows when the call is going to come.
But when the phone rings at Triple-A, it starts a game of
telephone with stops in Harrisburg, Woodbridge, Hagerstown and Burlington,