Washington Nationals: Leading Off In 2011?

When I saw that Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman had Danny Espinosa back at the top of the lineup for the series and season finale with Atlanta, in spite of the fact that Nyjer Morgan was once again available after returning from his eight-game suspension yesterday, I figured it was an appropriate time to ask if the Nationals' manager had an opportunity to form any impressions of the Nationals' 23-year-old infielder as a potential leadoff man going forward since Morgan had struggled in the role this season.

With Morgan out, Espinosa was given what was reportedly considered, (as Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore among others reported), an audition as a potential future top of the order bat. In response to a question about Morgan being back in the leadoff spot for yesterday's game, Riggleman said that for the rest of the year the team would, "...play around with the top of the lineup between [Ian] Desmond, [Roger] Bernadina, Morgan and Espinosa, those four guys somewhere in that one or two spot mixing it up." Asked specifically today about what he'd seen from Espinosa, Riggleman said, "I think he can hit a lot of places in the lineup, [but] basically the on base percentage (OBP) is so key for that leadoff spot, so we're searching,":

Jim Riggleman: "I really like Nyjer Morgan in the no.2 spot. I like him there for various reasons, but we've got about three or four guys who seem to be well-suited for the no.2 spot, that's why we need [Ryan Zimmerman] in there at no.3, [Adam] Dunn in there at no.4, [Josh] Willingham, whoever, [Michael] Morse in no.5, one of those guys in there, those big guys in there. No.1 and no.2? They will determine who they are, they'll make me make the decision, whether it's Morgan, Espinosa, Bernadina, whoever, somebody's gotta hit up there and quite often the one who doesn't will hit no.2. It's almost interchangeable really, which of those two spots, but I think Nyjer can be a real plus for us in that no.2 spot, but that means Desmond doesn't hit two, Bernadina doesn't hit two, Espinosa doesn't hit two, so it's gonna have to work itself out here at the end of the year and in Spring Training next year when hopefully one of them will show that they're going to get on base at about a .350 clip and solidify that no.1 spot."

Who's your 2011 leadoff man for the Nats?

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