A little more than three weeks ago, I wrote an article exploring the options the Washington Nationals have with newly acquired third baseman Anthony Rendon. However, I didn’t mention the odd man out, another major league ready second baseman, Steve Lombardozzi.
Lombardozzi, 23 years old now, was drafted in 19th round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft by the Nationals. After two seasons in the minors, he easily progressed to Double-A where he made his presence known. In 92 games, Lombardozzi hit .305 with a .368 on base percentage, showing his impressive speed with 20 stolen bases and nine triples. This performance continued against some of the best prospects in the league when he was promoted to Triple-A in the middle of the 2011 season. He put up an impressive .310/.354/.408 slash line while stealing 14 bags in only 69 games. Not only did his offense shine, but his defense did as well. In the 59 games that he played second base, he did not commit an error earning him a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.
All of this led up to his major league call-up in September of 2011 to help fill the positions of Espinosa, Desmond, and Zimmerman whenever they needed a late season break. His debut finally came on September 6th when he was called to pinch-hit against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Twenty-two days later, the season was over and Lombardozzi had played in 13 games, hitting a weak .194. This small sample size in the majors left a lot of speculation as to what the future holds for the 23-year-old with his primary positions blocked by 6th place NL Rookie of Year Danny Espinosa at second base, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon at third base, and Bryce Harper in left field.
There are really only two probable options that the Nationals have with Lombardozzi if he even shows that he can play in the majors. The first is using him as a bench player who will take over if either Desmond or Espinosa are traded until Rendon is called up. Then after that he could be used as a utility infielder because of his exceptional defense. The second option is trading him for other prospects with high upside. With his high value in the minors and undetermined value in the majors, many clubs could be interested in taking the risk. These two options are not very hopeful for Lombardozzi’s career, but we hope he sees the same chance in the majors that his father, Steve Lombardozzi, Sr., did.