In Need Of Pop? Add Espinosa

By R.J. Anderson //

Entering Tuesday’s game, Cliff Lee had allowed six home runs in his first 11 starts. Danny Espinosa added a pair, as the Nationals routed Lee and the Phillies—booting the free agent signee after 5 1/3 innings pitched and tacking on six earned runs.  For Espinosa, it is a feat sure to garner him some publicity, as the former Long Beach State attendee now has 10 home runs on the season, tying him with Kelly Johnson for the second most home runs by a National League middle infielder.

It is an interesting development for Espinosa, who at 6-feet tall does not have the typical build of a slugger. What he lacks in size he makes up for in violence. With a high leg kick leading into a fierce twist, Espinosa is able to generate enough torque to thrust the ball beyond the fences. As you would expect, Espinosa’s unique swing antics result in some strikeouts too, as he fanned in nearly 27 percent of his first 280 or so major league at-bats.

Those strikeouts assist in diluting Espinosa’s fantasy value because his batting average so far is nothing to write home about (.216) and his on-base percentage suffers because of the diminished batting average (.299). Most of the time, a batter with two-thirds of a career line of .216/.299 isn’t worth fantasy or real world considerations, but Espinosa’s pop makes him an intriguing option in the fantasy world, and his ability to field and run the bases makes him a real world starter too.

Espinosa may be available in your league because of his strikeouts, horrid batting average, and terrifying on-base percentage. Truthfully, he doesn’t fit every team—as those who can sacrifice some pop for average and walks should do so—but if your team could use a little thunder and has some average to spare, Espinosa is a nice little pickup.

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