The Major League Baseball Draft offers big opportunities for amateur players. This monumental day rewards the best of the best high-school and college aged players for their hard work. Major League Scouts from across the country have been evaluating every aspect of these players. They utilize a scouting tool called the 20-80 scale. This grade is an all-encompassing number on the 20-80 scale that signifies what each player is projected to ultimately be in the big leagues.One such player that is eagerly awaiting his name to be called is, Daniel Espino.
Daniel (Danny) is a native from Panama but has resided in Georgia for the past couple of years. He attended Georgia Premier Academy in Statesboro, Georgia and is a Louisiana State University signee. Espino is an athletic specimen standing at 6 foot 3 and weighs in at 200 pounds. He utilizes a high ¾ arm slot and generates a lot of velocity and spin rate. Espino’s fastball is normally 94-97MPH; and he has topped at 99-100 MPH. Danny commands his fastball well at the high-school level and supplements his fastball with: a sharp slider, a nasty curveball, and a developing changeup.
Espino’s clear-cut strength is his fastball. He has no trouble letting the baseball fly. Major League Scouts have graded his fastball a 70 on the 20-80 scale. Scouts are also very high on Espino’s slider. They have graded his slider a 60 on the 20-80 scale. It is very sharp and sits in the low 80’s. Espino dominated high-school hitters this spring holding a 9-0 record in 44 innings. He had a 0.41 era only giving up two runs all year. He bolstered an impressive 109 strike-outs, seven walks, and gave up a mere eight hits. More impressively, he struck out 17 top-300 high school draft prospects during his high-school season. Scouts have graded Espino a 50 overall on the 20-80 scale.
The major concerns for Major League Scouts is Espino’s “unconventional” arm action. It is considered too long for the likes of Major League pitching coaches. Many scouts are also concerned with the command of Espino. Command has not been too much of a concern at the high-school level. However, scouts are concerned that Major League hitters will not chase pitches out of the zone as much as amateur hitters do. Lastly, Major League Scouts are concerned that Espino has peaked from a physical aspect. He is a strong well-built prospect already. With this in mind, organizations are concerned that Espinosa does not have any more room for development.
Daniel Espino Draft Stock:
Espino draft stock has changed considerably heading into draft day. Last summer Espino was a top three pick according to most MLB scouts. The recent mock drafts have Espino dropping to the late first round and even the supplemental round. This could partially be due to the struggles that hard throwing high school players have had before him. Espinosa has been drawing comparisons to Riley Pint and Hunter Greene.
Pint was the #4 overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft by the Colorado Rockies. He was a hard throwing high-school pitcher that touched 100+ MPH and had a question mark associated with his command. Pint had a lot of issues with command in his first full season in the Rockies organization. Greene was the #2 overall pick in the 2017 draft by the Cincinnati Reds.
He like many other hard throwing high-school players tore his UCL and underwent “Tommy John” surgery. Espino is hopeful that an organization will take a chance on him in the first round. According to Baseball America, Espino will be in attendance for MLB Network’s Studio 42’s coverage of the first round.
Many scouts say that Espino resembles Lance McCullers Jr. from the Houston Astros and Touki Toussaint from the Atlanta Braves. The comparisons come from Espino’s ability to generate massive amounts of velocity and showcase tightly spun off-speed pitches. Both McCuller’s and Touissant were prep pitchers that were taken in the first round. Espino would love to emulate the success of these prep pitchers that have come before him.
With the pessimism associated with Espino’s command, arm action, and physical presence he may fall lower than expected. Many teams see Espino projecting better as a reliever opposed to a starter. The Houston Astros, who signed Lance McCullers Jr.in first round of the 2012 draft, could draw from their previous prep pitcher success and take a chance on Espino. Another viable option could be the Arizona Diamondbacks who have back to back picks in the first round (33 and 34). The Diamondbacks seem to be a good candidate to take a chance on Espino because they have two first round picks.
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