I thought it was a little odd that Washington Post writer Thomas Boswell stated unequivocally in his recent article entitled, "For Washington Nationals' real fans, September call-ups hold much promise", that, as he wrote, "Later this week, the Nats will call up catcher Wilson Ramos and middle infielder Danny Espinosa," since it hadn't officially been announced but only whispered about, until now...
MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) just reported the following via his Twitter account:
"Breaking news: 2B Danny Espinosa and C Wilson Ramos were called up by the #Nats today."
(ed. note - "Further notes included RHP Collin Balester's name on the list of players called up to the Nats.")
Danny Espinosa, 23, an '08 3rd Round pick out of Long Beach State University, aka "The Shortstop Factory" as DC GM Mike Rizzo and others have referred to it, is a 6'0'', 190lb infielder out of Santa Ana, California, who was hitting .295/.349/.463 at Triple-A Syracuse after being called up from Double-A Harrisburg where he started the 2010 campaign and hit .262/.336/.462 with 16 doubles, 18 HR's and 54 RBI's in 99 games during his third season in the Nats' system. The second-highest ranked infielder behind his future middle infield partner Ian Desmond in the most recent Baseball America rankings of the top prospects in the Nats' system, Espinosa is expected to move to second, as noted in Mr. Ladson's tweet, since Desmond's already established himself as the Nats' SS.
Wilson Ramos, acquired in the Non-Waiver deadline deal that sent former Nats' closer Matt Capps to the Minnesota Twins, was the second best prospect in their system before the trade (again according to Baseball America). Upon acquiring the 23-year-old backstop, the DC GM, Mike Rizzo, told a group of reporters that, "The odds are you'll see him in September, or maybe before depending on what happens in the major leagues." In 20 games and 79 at bats with Syracuse, Ramos hit .316/.341/.494 with 3 doubles and 3 HR's. On the year, the catcher's thrown out an even 50% of basestealers who've attempted to run on his arm.
Collin Balester, an '04 4th Round pick from the Montreal Expos' last draft class, gets another shot in the Majors after having been called up and down several times already this season. In an earlier stint he struggled with control but showed signs of the stuff that keeps the Nats interested in what he could potentially bring to the bullpen.
As Mr. Boswell accurately points out in the article linked above, in spite of the absence of Stephen Strasburg, the future is now for the Washington Nationals. And if Rizzo's focus this past offseason was on strengthening the Nats up the middle, the addition of the second part of the middle infield duo of the future along with the top catcher in the system and the emergence as Roger Bernadina as a reliable option in center with Nyjer Morgan confusing a lot of folks these days, it's going to be interesting to see just what the Nationals have in these young players as they get their chance to impress over the next month-plus...In Rizzo We Trust. Now time to verify some of his moves.