At Long Beach State, Espinosa followed Troy Tulowitzki as the team's shortstop and played with Evan Longoria.
In the spring of 2009, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Espinosa as the 14th-best prospect in the Nationals organization.
But they moved Danny all the way up to #5 in the Washington farm system. And he was up again, to third best in the Nationals' organization in the winter before 2011 spring training.
Espinosa gets the very most out of what you would have to call average tools. His work ethic and hustling style of play impress everyone.
Espinosa came into the 2013 season with a better outlook on life and the game.
"I've always been my harshest critic. I came into this year—it was kind of my New Year's resolution—with a good attitude with everything I did, whether it's baseball or anything. I want to have fun, keep a positive attitude. If the games didn't go well, I wasn't going to get down on myself, not to have anything carry over. Moreso this year, I really enjoy being here every day, being with my teammates every single day, and enjoy being out on the field," Danny said.
Danny is of Mexican descent.
Espinosa was one of the first position players to arrive at Nationals 2015 Spring Training. His new mustache was also there, and it is in midseason/postseason/Hall of Fame/nobody-should-ever-try-and-grow-a-mustache-again form. I mean, it looks like a small animal has curled up and taken a nap on his face. (Monagan - mlb.com - 2/19/15)
December 2016: Espinosa committed to play for Mexico in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
June 2008: Danny signed with scout Mark Baca of the Nationals for a bonus of $525,000 after the team chose him in the third round of the draft, out of California State at Long Beach.
With part of his bonus money, Espinosa traded in his 1992 Ford Ranger for a new Cadillac CTS.
January 16, 2015: Espinosa and the Nationals agreed on a $1.8 million pact for 2015, avoiding arbitration.
January 15, 2016: The Nats and Espinosa avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract for $2.875 million.
Dec 10, 2016: Washington Nationals traded 2B Danny Espinosa to Los Angeles Angels for RHP Austin Adams and RHP Kyle McGowin
- Jan 13, 2017: Espinosa and the Angels avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a one-year contract worth $5.425 million.
|Birth City:||Santa Ana, CA|
|Draft:||Nationals #3 - 2008 - Out of Cal State-Long Beach|
The (formerly) switch-hitting Espinosa hits for a better batting average from the left side. He has some occasional power with most of his home runs coming from the right side, but sprays line drives and is a better hitter for the most part hitting lefthanded.
He has always been stronger from the right side. He has strong hands, quick wrists and a loose swing that generates impressive bat speed.
- Danny does a good job handling the bat. But improved discipline at the plate would be a big help. He is a free swinger and a front-foot hitter who takes a wicked hack at anything that is close.
- Espinosa is one of those guys who just makes a team better because of all the little things he brings to the table. He's the kind of player who makes everyone around him better and gets the most out of his tools.
- Danny has a knack for squaring the barrel of the bat on the ball. He is an intelligent player who makes adjustments.
- In 2010, Harrisburg hitting coach Troy Gingrich helpled him make his upper and lower halves work together more effectively in his swing. If Espinosa continues to refine his approach and setup he could become an average hitter, thanks to his excellent hand-eye coordination and bunting skills. (Aaron Fitt-Baseball America-12/22/10)
Late in the 2011 season, Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he'd like Espinosa to bunt more.
"With his talent, [Espinosa] loves to swing the bat, and he is a threat with the bat," Johnson said. "Rod Carew is a great hitter also. He could bunt .300. Espi can do the same thing."
- During the 2011 season, Danny had a .223 batting average and struck out 132 times in 443 lefthanded at-bats. From the right side, Espinosa was consistent at the plate, going 36 for 130 (.277).
It was the first time in his professional career that Espinosa had problems from the left side of the plate. He knows he has to shorten his swing and cut down on the strikeouts. He worked to get more direct to the ball.
During the offseason and 2013 spring training, Espinosa shortened and simplified his swing, making his path to the ball more direct.
"I worked on it with a one-hand drill because it's what I could do for so long—my bottom hand gets going in the right direction. It feels great. I know I'm attacking the ball.
"I was talking to Kurt Suzuki about it. When I used to hit the ball real well in the minors, I was a better hitter lefthanded than I was righthanded. I used to attack the ball lefthanded. I never fell on my back side and dropped my shoulder, and that's what I had gotten into the last two years when I was struggling. I was staying back on my back side and basically collapsing rather than hitting through a strong front side."
- In 2015, Danny dropped switch-hitting. He now hits only from the right side.
- As of the start of the 2017 season, Danny's career Major League stats were: .226 batting average, 92 home runs with 285 RBI's in 2,644 at-bats.
- Danny's overall defense is his best tool. He is an extremely good shortstop with a tad above average range. Because he has such great baseball instincts, and because he positions himself so well, he rates as a far better-than-average shortstop. He has excellent first-step quickness and real good body control and athelticism.
- Espinosa's glovework is unorthodox, but very impressive. He is an aggressive player with keen instincts and excellent body control.
- Danny has a very strong, accurate arm for throwing runners out from deep in the hole. His arm is his best tool.
- Espinosa probably has the best range in the National League. That was certainly true in 2011, even though Brandon Phillips, who is flashier, won the Gold Glove. Danny gets to more balls than Phillips does.
- Danny has above average speed, but it plays up because of his excellent instincts as on the bases. He is intelligent and aggressive running the bases.
- He stole 37 bases for the Nationals in 2011 and 2012, but doesn't run that much any more.
- Espinosa doesn't look real sleek running the bases. He is kind of bow-legged.
- March-April 18, 2010: Espinosa began the season on the D.L. with a strained hamstring.
November 24, 2010: Danny had the hook of the hamate bone removed from his right hand at the Curtis National Hand Center in Baltimore.
Espinosa's hand began bothering him the week before while playing for Leones de Ponce of the Puerto Rican Winter League. He was healthy in six weeks and ready for spring training.
"The doctor looked at the MRI and said it was an old break," Espinosa said via phone. "He couldn't put an exact date on when I broke it. I can't think of when I hurt my hand in the last two years."
Danny was hitting .281/.343/.483 in 89 at-bats for Ponce in the Puerto Rican League, and he hit for the cycle in a 10-2 win over Carolina when he had to have the surgery.
September 2012: Espinosa says he played with a torn rotator cuff in his left, non-throwing shoulder late in the season. The switch-hitter decided not to have offseason surgery and instead rehab the injury.
Danny was hurt when he dived for a ball. On Sept. 17, Espinosa got a cortisone shot to relieve the pain. The next day, he said he had a bone bruise in his shoulder socket. Over the Nationals' previous 20 regular-season games, Espinosa batted only .188. Then he was 1-for-15 in Washington's division series loss to St. Louis.
Asked how shocked he was when he learned he had a torn rotator cuff, Espinosa said, "I wasn't so shocked. I was kind of expecting it. The amount of strength went so far down. It had to be something other than a bruise. I think when we took the first MRI, there was so much inflammation, the doctor couldn't tell.
"After the season ended and I took a couple of weeks off, I went to see Dr. Lewis Yocum. The inflammation probably went way down and he was able to see [the torn rotator cuff]. I wasn't shocked. I was kind of disappointed. I was hurting. If we would have caught it earlier, I would probably shut the season down. I wasn't very useful at that point, I didn't feel. Defensively, I could still play, but offensively ... to just tank in the last month and have no idea what's going on. It was a disappointing feeling."
June 3, 2013: Espinosa was on the D.L. with a fractured right wrist.