The Potential Tools: 70 FB, 60 CB, 55 CH, 60 Command
Strengths: Extreme arm speed; feel for three pitches; plus athleticism; low-effort delivery with ¾ arm slot; repeats delivery routinely; FB has explosive life to armside; works 93-to-97 mph; will touch upper 90s consistently; curveball is a major league out pitch; tight spin, sharp 11-to-5 break with deep depth; projects plus; shows ability to throw a strike and chase pitch presently; feel for changeup; power-sinking action; 8-to-10 mph differential from fastball; plays well off fastball; will flash plus; present advanced feel and command for age.
Weaknesses: Short/small stature; skinny frame; questions of ability to add strength and durability for starters workload; can lose feel of changeup; becomes too firm and can be timed like two-seam fastball by hitters; fastball command can be loose in zone; present fringe-average command and future projection are far apart; limited pro experience.
Role Ceiling: 60; #2 SP
Risk: Extreme; long command projection; strength needed; limited pro experience.
Summary: There are not many pitchers with the advanced feel, arsenal, and command that Espinoza possesses at his age. His low-effort, repeatable delivery and arm slot makes his command projection play plus, and adding that with his explosive plus-plus fastball, plus curveball and solid-average changeup makes him a dangerous prospect. There are concerns about his size and strength, but if strength and good weight are added, Espinoza will end up starting. He shows control around the strike zone, but his present command is below average, which to be expected from an 18-year-old. One thing that stands out about Espinoza is his pitchability. He knows how to work hitters much older than him, and he remembers how they handled him in prior AB’s. As his body and projection mature, there’s a good chance Espinoza becomes one of the better pitching prospects in the minor leagues.