The kid from Santa Ana, California who grew up loving baseball ever since he was first introduced to the sport at the age of three, when he played coach pitch baseball and had to stay with the coach at all times because of his diminutive size. That was Danny Espinosa.
Recently, Espinosa spoke to a group of fourth and fifth graders from the Hendley Elementary School in conjunction with the Israel Embassy. He told them the at their age he was told the idea of being a major league player was not realistic - But, he believed in himself and through hard work and determination he's making it.
So far, Danny has really opened the eyes of those watching him. He's got great range and a fantastic throwing arm. While he will still have to earn the second base job next year (GM Mike Rizzo says nothing is being handed to him), the 23-year-old is doing everything he can to secure it.
Besides making a great impression in September, he is going to play winter ball in Puerto Rico for the team that third base coach Pat Listach is managing. He's doing whatever he can to get an edge leading into spring training.
As the Nats wrapped up their home season on Wednesday, I had a chance to speak with owner Mark Lerner. For him, one of the most memorable moments of 2010 was watching his young second baseman in his explosive home debut.
In his first home at bat Espinosa knocked one out of the park, and later in the game he hit a grand slam - A pretty good night night for the kid, driving in six against the Mets on September 6 and sending the fans home with a curly W and a fantastic first impression.
The best thing about Danny, to me, is that he's got a burning desire to win. You can see it the way he leaves it all out on the field. He wants to get better and is working diligently alongside Ian Desmond to do that. With these two young men anchoring the infield along with Ryan Zimmerman, the future in DC is awfully bright. Do stay tuned!