Prospect Profile: David Espinosa

Espinosa was back in Erie in 2005

David Espinosa was acquired from the Reds after falling out of favor in Cincinnati, and the Tigers have seen why Espinosa didn't make his mark there. Despite excellent patience at the plate, Espinosa has yet to see the rest of his tools come around to become a complete ballplayer; can he make that happen in '06?

David Espinosa
Position: Outfield Height: 6-1 Weight: 180
Born: 12/16/1981 Bats: Both Throws: Right

Background
Espinosa was drafted in the 1st round (23rd overall) by the Cincinnati Reds. Early on as a professional, David had struggled with nearly all facets of his game, seeing only minimal progress. The Reds traded Espinosa to Detroit following the 2003 season. Upon arriving in Detroit, David moved from the middle infield to the outfield in hopes of improving his lackluster defensive reputation. Espinosa put together a solid, if injury plagued 2003 campaign with Lakeland, and appeared to be on the road to fulfilling at least some of his original promise. The 2004 season saw the long awaited breakout of a player with tons of potential. Espinosa posted a blazing hot first half, but cooled considerably as the season went on, finishing with a .264/.366/.440 line. Last season saw much of the same from Espinosa, who got off to a racing start only to drop off considerably late in the year. A brief stint riding the pine after a promotion to Toledo probably didn't help his confidence.

Scouting Report
Espinosa was considered a very raw, five tool talent when drafted, but has yet to live up to that billing. Espinosa has above average speed, developing power, solid strike zone judgment, and a strong arm. While these tools all seem to be at different stages of their development, they are encouraging none-the-less. David has been a consistent base stealing threat since his pro debut, but recently he has improved his judgment and instincts on the bases, becoming a more complete threat. Espinosa's power and plate discipline both took a step forward in 2004 and 2005, leaving hope that it might all come together. David's increased strength has led to the ability to drive the ball to the gaps with more regularity, and his improved pitch recognition has allowed him to wait on balls a touch longer. The next step for Espinosa will be to become more a spray hitter, using his pitch recognition to his advantage, driving balls to all fields. Defensively, Espinosa's progress has been slow, but steady in the outfield. It is unlikely he'll ever be considered an above average defender, but Espinosa has become passable in right field, where his strong arm plays well.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

AA

Erie

431

.262

21

9

40

109

66

.362

.411

AAA

Toledo

41

.244

0

0

2

10

8

.367

.293

AFL

Mesa

78

.282

4

2

12

11

9

.352

.410


Health Record
Espinosa has battled many minor injuries throughout his career, but none of them appear to be long-term concerns.

The Future
After being rumored as a potential Rule 5 selection earlier this month, Espinosa will return to the Tigers in 2006. Despite another campaign in which he struggled during the season's second half, Espinosa deserves the challenge posed by AAA. The 2006 season should prove to be a true test for Espinosa's skill set, and may be his last shot to truly make the Tiger's front office take notice. If David can sustain his success for an entire year, he could suddenly re-emerge as a legitimate outfield prospect. The likelihood is that Espinosa becomes a solid 4th outfielder with good on base skills, and a reasonable club. That's certainly not what he was touted as on draft day, but still a useful player.

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