Shortstop Danny Espinosa of the Washington Nationals has been named National League Player of the Week for the week ending July 3rd. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.
In seven games last week, Espinosa led the Majors with 17 RBI and was tied for the Major League lead with five home runs. The 29-year-old also led the NL in slugging with a 1.077 mark and ranked among League leaders with 28 total bases (T-1st), eight runs scored (T-2nd), 11 hits (T-2nd), a .423 batting average (7th) and a .516 on-base percentage (7th). Espinosa's hot bat helped his NL East-leading Nationals to a 6-1 record last week.
The California native capped his week with a two-homer, six-RBI effort in a 12-1 victory over Cincinnati on Sunday. The performance bookended a four-game series that he began with a career-best seven-RBI, two-home run performance in a 13-4 victory for the Nats in Thursday night's opener. According to Elias, Espinosa's combined five home runs and 15 RBI in a four-game series are a mark that has been equaled just three times in history since the RBI became an official statistic (1920). The others include: Tony Lazzeri of the New York Yankees at Philadelphia in 1936 (6 HR, 16 RBI in four games); St. Louis Browns' Chet Laabs at Philadelphia in 1942 (5 HR, 15 RBI in four games); and Nate Colbert of the San Diego Padres at Atlanta in 1972 (6 HR, 15 RBI in four games). Furthermore, Espinosa became one of just five shortstops in Major League history to hit two grand slam homers in a series of any length, joining Travis Jackson (1924 at Philadelphia), Nomar Garciaparra (1999 vs. Seattle), David Eckstein (2002 vs. Toronto) and Hanley Ramirez (2009 vs. Baltimore). The switchhitting slugger also became the first Nationals player (2005-present) to homer from both sides of the plate in a single game, doing so in Thursday night's outing, as well as on Sunday. He currently ranks second among all Major League shortstops with 18 home runs on the season. This is his first career Player of the Week honor.
Other noteworthy performances last week included Chicago's Kris Bryant (.393, 9 R, 11 H, 5 HR, 10 RBI, 1.000 SLG, .469 OBP); Philadelphia's Cesar Hernandez (.520, 13 H, .520 OBP) and Vince Velasquez (2-0, 1.64 ERA, 14 SO, 11.0 IP); Arizona's Jake Lamb (.348, 7 R, 8 H, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 1.000 SLG, .400 OBP); and Kenley Jansen (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 3 SV, 7 SO, 11.0 IP) and Scott Kazmir (2-0, 3.27 ERA, 14 SO, 11.0 IP) of the Los Angeles Dodgers.