An In-Depth Look at the Danny Espinosa Trade

Updated: December 12, 2016

On Dec. 10, the Angels found their new second baseman in Danny Espinosa. In exchange, the Angels sent pitchers Kyle McGowin and Austin Adams to the Nationals.

Espinosa is a Southern California native, as he attended Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana and played college ball alongside Evan Longoria and Vance Worley at Long Beach State. He was a three time all-conference player for the Dirtbags.

Espinosa has shown he can swing the bat in the majors. He has surpassed .700 OPS three times in his career in 2011, 2012, and 2015. Last season, Espinosa had a slash line of .209/.306/.378 with an OPS+ of 81. Those numbers might not be pretty but he hit 24 home runs, good enough for third in the National League for middle infielders.

Espinosa has the capability to hit .240 with an OPS+ around 100, but more than likely he will hover around the Mendoza Line, as he hits more for power than average. The big issue at the plate for Espinosa at the plate are the strikeouts. Last season, he was second in the NL in strikeouts and collected 174 times in 157. If he can increase his hit total, decrease his strikeouts, and stay around the 20+ home run mark hit hit last season, he could be a threat at the plate.

The reason the Angels picked up Espinosa, though, was for his defense. He has collected 5.8 dWAR over his seven year career. At second, Espinosa has accumulated 25 Rdrs and 28 Rtot. His Rdrs/year is 6. For comparison, Johnny Giavotella’s Rdrs/year was -15 and Cliff Pennington, who was signed for his glove last offseason, has a Rdrs/year of 4.

The Angels may have one of the best up the middle defenses in baseball next season with Espinosa, Simmons, Trout and Perez manning four key positions and Cameron Maybin and Kole Calhoun should provide more help in the corner outfield spots.

As for who the Angels lost in the trade, there really is no notable pieces. Kyle McGowin was drafted in the fifth round in 2013 and ranked as the Angels #20 prospect, but has not had great numbers in the minors. He has a career 4.77 ERA and had 5.83 ERA between AA and AAA last season.

He does have two plus fastballs and a plus-plus slider in his arsenal, but he has yet to find success with them. He has potential to be a back-end starter, but more than likely, he will just end up as a swingman or organizational depth.

Austin Adams is a AA reliever and has had decent numbers at every level. He saw time in AAA in 2015 , but gave up four earned runs in just 3.2 innings. Adams’ fastball sits at an decent 92-95 and he has one plus pitch in his slider, so it should be interesting seeing how he is in AAA next season. He could find himself in Washington’s bullpen in the near future, but without a big fastball, he will most likely be just a run-of-the-mill reliever.

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