Santiago Espinal’s unexpected breakout in 2021 has him on the radar for more playing time in the future

After making his major league debut in 2020, the Toronto Blue Jays likely weren’t expecting much from infielder Santiago Espinal heading into this past season, however, the 26-year-old has quickly emerged into a reliable piece for this organization as the 2021-22 off-season nears.
Looking back on his breakout performance from the 2021 season, there’s no question Espinal’s campaign didn’t begin on an encouraging note as he was positioned behind veteran Joe Panik on the team’s depth chart when Opening Day rolled around. As a result, the young infielder’s playing time was limited out of the gate, preventing him from making much of an impact.
Whereas for Panik, the 30-year-old opened the regular season as Toronto’s primary backup infielder, and with Cavan Biggio underperforming along with battling through a neck injury, the 2014 World Series champion occupied a regular role on the diamond early on.
But at this stage of his career, the former San Francisco Giant couldn’t provide much upside, particularly from an offensive standpoint, resulting in some very troubling metrics through the first month of the season – even for his suboptimal hitting standards.
Proving to be largely ineffective at the plate over his first 42 …

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Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation

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