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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Santiago Espinal

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Santiago Espinal came to to the Blue Jays from the Red Sox in trade for Steve Pearce back in July of 2018.

He was number 24 on our Top 40 prospect list last year. Matt wrote:

Espinal profiles as very low risk and high floor, with a strong likelihood of being a utility infielder (role 40) who can cover shortstop but below average offensive production (80-85 wRC+). If the demonstrated contact ability translates really well, he could surprise to the upside as a “second division” fringe regular (1-2 WAR/year at ~90 wRC+), with an outside chance at an everyday regular if he’s as good defensively as the Blue Jays have indicated.

I think the ‘everyday regular’ thing has gone by the wayside, at least with the Blue Jays. But I think it would make a good utility infielder if we weren’t set on giving the role to veterans like Joe Panik. I’m biased, but I’d much rather have a young guy who can pinch-run and play strong defense.

He got some playing time last year, getting into 26 games, hitting .267/.308/.333, with a stolen base, and he pitched in two games when we were getting blown out.

You likely remember his second appearance. He was put in as a pinch-runner in the 10th inning against the Rays. He was the runner on second to start the inning, stole third, and score on a Lourdes Gurriel sac fly, giving us hope for a few minutes until Shun Yamaguchi came in in the bottom of the inning and gave up a triple that Teoscar made a mess on to allow the winning run to score.

He quickly became a bit of a fan favorite, filling in for the injured Bo Bichette, playing good defense (something that was lacking last season), and showing some hustle.

I guess the choice for utility player will be Espinal or open up a roster spot for Panik or Richard Urena. I’d be happy with Espinal or Urena, so it will likely be Panik.

Poll

Who would you rather have as utility infielder?

This poll is closed

  • 74%
    Santiago Espinal
    (242 votes)
  • 12%
    Joe Panik
    (41 votes)
  • 12%
    Richard Urena
    (42 votes)
325 votes total Vote Now

ZiPS figures Espinal would hit .242/.288/.343. They also have him playing 120 games, but then ZiPS doesn’t try to figure out how much guys will play.

PECOTA has him playing a far more reasonable 25 games, hitting .243/.302/.368.

Poll

If the over/under of 2021 MLB plate appearances for Espinal is 100 I’d take the

This poll is closed

  • 33%
    Over
    (72 votes)
  • 66%
    Under
    (144 votes)
216 votes total Vote Now