Washington Nationals' Danny Espinosa: 2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper

Bryan CurleyCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2011

Baseball's next perennial 20/20 threat, Danny Espinosa.
Baseball's next perennial 20/20 threat, Danny Espinosa.Greg Fiume/Getty Images

The MLB averaged 12 20/20 players per year from 2007-2009. Last year there were just six. This exclusive brotherhood is shrinking, and players with this now rare power/speed combo are gaining significant value in fantasy leagues.

Danny Espinosa is a threat to join the club.

Yesterday we mentioned some other 2011 fantasy baseball sleepers who were sleepers in the sense that they were now going to see regular playing time. Espinosa falls into this category. In just 112 PA over 22 games last season, Espinosa hit six homers and never registered a stolen base. His ISO was .233, astounding for both a rookie and a second baseman.

A quick look at his minor league numbers show a player with true 20/20 potential as Espinosa averaged 21 HR and 28 SB per 500 AB in 2009 and 2010. His batting average is nothing to write home about seeing as something in the .250-.260 range is probably his ceiling for now, but is he worth taking a gamble on in the late rounds over people like Bill Hall or Juan Uribe? Most definitely.

Despite the low average, Espinosa walks a good amount, and it looks like he’ll be batting toward the top of the Nationals lineup, meaning plenty of opportunities for Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman to drive him in. Best of all, the starting second base job appears to be Espinosa’s to lose, and by all accounts he’s quite an adept defender as well. Even if he struggles at the plate early on, his defense should keep him in the lineup, and that’s why you need to keep an eye on Espinosa.

2011 Fantasy Projection

.252 AVG | 82 R | 20 HR | 50 RBI | 17 SB

Check out our 2011 Fantasy Baseball Rankings:

 Top 30 Catchers

Top 30 First Basemen

Top 30 Second Basemen

Top 30 Third Basemen

Top 30 Shortstops

Top 60 Outfielders

Top 60 Starting Pitchers

Top 30 Relief Pitchers

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