It was just over two months ago that the Guardians announced that pitching prospect Daniel Espino was being shut down for roughly eight weeks due to a pair of injuries (a subscapularis strain and an anterior capsule tear) in his right shoulder. With the shutdown period completed, Espino had been slowly working his way back, but The Athletic’s Zack Meisel reports that Espino has now been shut down again due to continued inflammation and soreness in the shoulder.
Espino is set to visit a doctor to determine the next course of action, which could be an ominous sign that he might be facing a substantially longer layoff. Surgery might potentially sideline Espino for the remainder of the 2023 season, though a large-scale procedure might provide an answer to the shoulder problems that have plagued the star prospect for two years. Espino pitched in only four games for Double-A Akron in 2022 due to both shoulder issues and knee tendinitis.
Cleveland selected Espino with the 24th overall pick of the 2019 draft, and there were plenty of early indications that the right-hander would be the latest prized arm to come out of the Guardians’ farm system. Espino has a whopping 40.85% strikeout rate over his 133 2/3 minor league innings, even if his 9.8% walk rate and 3.57 ERA are more on the modest side.
Even though he barely pitched in 2022, Espino was still a consensus top-25 prospect in preseason rankings from MLB Pipeline (who rated Espino 16th), Baseball America (19th), and Baseball Prospectus (25th). Both Pipeline and BA give his fastball a perfect 80 grade on the 20-80 scouting scale, due to its excellent movement, ride, and velocity that can top 100mph. Espino’s 70-grade slider is almost as deadly, and he is able to generate low-90’s velocity on that secondary pitch.
With a healthy and productive season, Espino surely would’ve found himself promoted to Triple-A in 2023 and then perhaps to the majors at some point. While the Guardians have plenty of pitching depth, the team has been willing to be aggressive with certain prospects if they’re gauged ready for MLB competition, and Espino might have been such a special case. Now, it seems like all Espino and the Guards can hope for is that the 22-year-old can get back onto a mound in any relatively short amount of time.
deGrom Texas Ranger
No he pitches for the DBacks
“Your shoulder… is injured.
That’ll be $250,000. Do you have an insurance card, sir?”
“No insurance, just this coupon for Arby’s. Can i at least get a sandwich?”
This one belongs to the Reds
I hope this isn’t the familiar story I think it is.
A friend of mine from high school who made the bigs had similar shoulder issues and was never the same again.
On the other hand, medical science advances all the time and these guys have the best.
Have they tried some thoughts and prayers?
We have- doesn’t seem to be working. Go figure.
Hopefully, for Daniel Espino, they can figure out what the issue is. Get him right so he can pitch. He has such amazing talent, I’d hate for it to be wasted because of injuries. Good luck!
Some Guardians they are. If the were still the Indians, Espino could souix!
Vince Ferragamo's Dog
Espino :”Doc it hurts when I do this”
Doc :”Don’t do that”