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A DP combo with "swagger"

Feb 26, 2011, 12:01 AM EDT

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Danny Espinosa and Ian Desmond have become friends on and off the field.

VIERA, Fla. — Ask Ian Desmond which of Danny Espinosa’s qualities he wishes he possessed, and the Nationals’ young shortstop gives a surprising answer.

“He’s got a little more swagger than I’ve got,” Desmond said. “He’s got a little more confidence. I think him going to college and me coming out of high school, there’s a little bit of a difference in that aspect. He’s got a little more swagger, more style, more confidence that I wish I have.”

What do you think, Danny? Do you really have more swagger than Ian?

“I don’t think so,” Espinosa said. “He probably does things a little smoother than me, so I’m looking at that as him having more swagger.”

Suffice it to say, neither member of the Nationals’ middle-infield combo is lacking in the confidence department. Each believes he can do just about anything on the diamond, and each believes the other can probably do it even better, as you’ll read in my full article for CSNwashington.com.

  1. Theophilus - Feb 26, 2011 at 1:18 AM

    These guys have the potential to be the best long term duo since Trammell and Whitaker. (Not quite as good, but as good or better than Russell and Lopes.)

  2. Harper_ROY_2012 - Feb 26, 2011 at 3:02 AM

    Glad to see others joining Bryce in "Yes We Can" category..sick and tired of "We Are Trying Hard" mantra of 08, 09 and 10!!!!

  3. SonnyG10 - Feb 26, 2011 at 3:09 AM

    Be interesting to see what happens when Steve Lombardozzi is ready for the majors.

  4. Anonymous - Feb 26, 2011 at 4:19 AM

    I think Lombardozzi is the future at second base. Over his three-year career, he's hit .293/.373/.402 with 44 stolen bases. He's be far the better defender than Espinosa.And he can bat leadoff, something Desmond and Espinosa can't.Farid

  5. Anonymous - Feb 26, 2011 at 4:41 AM

    Desmond, Espinosa, Lombardozzi? Someone is going to get traded for key prospects (hopefully STARTING PITCHING) soon.

  6. John C. - Feb 26, 2011 at 4:43 AM

    @Farid: A better defender than Espinosa? Really? That's the first time that I've heard anyone make that claim about Lombardozzi. Espinosa wasn't just good at 2b last year – for a guy just adjusting to the position he was great. No errors, strong arm and a ton of range. One of the knocks that I've heard on Lombardozzi (and I've never seen him play, so it's all hearsay) is that his arm isn't good enough for the left side of the diamond. Espy's is.

  7. NatsJack in Florida - Feb 26, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    John C… you are correct about Lombardozzi. I don't know where Farid gets his info but Lombardozzi has neither the range nor the arm of Espinosa. Scouts have him rated as a serviceable utility player.

  8. CapPeterson - Feb 26, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    On Lombardozzi, the BA Prospects Handbook says "he has a chance to be an everyday second baseman or a valuable, high-energy reserve." The Handbook also notes that "he filled in ably at shortstop in the AFL, showing admirable versatility."Assuming that Desmond and Espy continue to adjust successfully to the majors, why should we immediately start thinking about trading one of these three guys after Lombardozzi arrives? MIs go on the DL all the time, you know. Sounds like a perfect threesome to cover the middle of the infield for the next few years. Now if a GM makes an offer for one of them that blows Rizzo's mind, that's another story.

  9. JayB - Feb 26, 2011 at 2:01 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. JayB - Feb 26, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    I find it very hard to believe there is more that a 3 2B with better defense ceiling that Danny E in all of baseball…..Steve L….fine defensive player…not even close to Danny E…..How do I know….I watch the games….Danny E is special in the field…like Gold Glove Special.

  11. Sue Dinem - Feb 26, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    Unlike Baseball America, I have seen Espinosa, Desmond, and Lombardozzi extensively. Of the two shortstops, Espinosa is the superior defender because he makes the routine play routinely. His arm is as strong as Desmond's, but more accurate. Desmond does have the best range, but until he learns which throws he can and cannot make, the step he has on Espinosa is meaningless.Lombardozzi does not have a left-side-IF arm. Not sure why BA made that remark about filling in ably at SS, as he made three errors in less than 20 games. He also has trouble going to his right. But he is quite good as a second baseman.Offensively, Lombardozzi is tablesetter with gap power. He's a smart baserunner, but he's not terribly fast (yes, he stole 24 bases in '10, but was also caught 12 times). [plug]Folks interested in learning more about the Nationals Prospects should visit the link in the name to see our watchlist of the top players.[/plug]

  12. JayB - Feb 26, 2011 at 4:39 PM

    Sue….who is the best second baseman potential…granted Espinosa may well be a waste there and not SS….which has the highest ceiling at 2nd B from a defensive perspective. That was the question right?

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