Do The Nationals Have Feared Sluggers in Middle Infield?

With former Washington Nationals second baseman Adam Kennedy signing a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners, the team is now faced with another void in the roster that needs to be filled.

Up the middle, the Nationals have a solid double play duo in Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa. However, both players are very young and with veterans Kennedy and Cristian Guzman gone, the team is in need of an experienced middle infielder to backup both players, and at the very least, create a little bit of stability should one of the two falter or get hurt. Willie Bloomquist, who can play infield and outfield, would be a likely candidate because that kills two birds with one stone by adding a backup IF and OF with one roster spot.

Here’s the problem: Ian Desmond, who is slated to be the starting shortstop this coming season, committed a league-leading 34 errors last season. He showed some promise at the dish, hitting .269 with 10 home runs, and driving in 65 runs, which is a very good number for a shortstop. His presence was also felt on the base paths by collecting 17 stolen bases.

So at the plate, Desmond has some potential. The only problem is that glaring number that stands at 34. The shortstop is supposed to be the general of the infield, the team’s best athlete and typically needs to be the best fielder on the team. Desmond will have a long way to go to prove this.

At second base it looks like Danny Espinosa will be getting the call. Frankly, I don’t know what to make of the kid. In his 28 games played last season with Washington, he hit a meager .214. However, what jumps out at you is his power numbers. In only 103 at bats, Espinosa jacked 6 home runs and drove in 15 RBI. In a 162 game season, that translates to 35 home runs and 87 RBI. Now you look at that stat for a second, and put him next to Desmond at short, with a full season under his belt, and you are looking at some serious offensive production from your middle infield.