What did the Blue Jays get back?
The trade appeared to be more about moving a respected veteran to a contender for a chance at a World Series than acquiring a top prospect. Espinal had been drafted by the Red Sox in the 2016 MLB Draft from the Junior College of Miami Dade College and had never reached the Top 30 status among the top prospects for the Boston Red Sox, or crack that category in his time with the Blue Jays.
Starting the Grind
Once he was acquired, Espinal would be assigned to the Dunedin Blue Jays in Advanced “A” baseball where he would go 17-65 (.262) through 17 games, at which point he would be pushed up to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and be a key contributor to the eventual 2018 Eastern League Champions.
Espinal would play split time evenly between second base, third base and shortstop behind Cavan Biggio (2B), Bo Bichette (SS) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr (3B). Espinal would make just five errors in the field over 42 games and at the plate he was just as good. In 164 plate appearances he went 42-147 with 12 extra-base hits, posting a slash line of .286/.354/.395. However, with the noted big names ahead of him, Espinal did not draw much attention and just continued to grind away.
Espinal would start the 2019 season back with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats as the primary second basemen and see some time at shortstop. Espinal had the benefit of two things that season, the primary was his strong play at Double-A, and the second being that the trio of Guerrero Jr, Biggio and Bichette all receiving the call up to the Blue Jays.
Espinal would play 94 games for the Fisher Cats posting slash line at the plate of .278/.343/.382 with 21 doubles (27 extra-base hits) and 57 RBI, while making just five errors in 174 opportunities at second base. His play with the Fisher Cats earned a call-up to Triple-A Buffalo to finish out the 2019 season where he got into 28 games and posted a slash line of .317/.360/.433 in 112 plate appearances. On the defensive side of the ball, Espinal played primarily at second base and made just two errors in 87 opportunities.