Santiago Espinal

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Santiago Roman Espinal

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Biographical Information[edit]

Infielder Santiago Espinal was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the 10th round of the 2016 amateur draft. On June 28, 2018, he was the player traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in return for OF/1B Steve Pearce, who would go on to be the MVP of the 2018 World Series. He was still playing in Class A at the time, with the Salem Red Sox of the Carolina League. He then played for the Dunedin Blue Jays of the Florida State League before finishing the year in AA with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Eastern League. Between the three stops, he hit .297/.356/.44 in 124 games. In 2019, he played 94 games with New Hampshire, then earned a late-season promotion to the AAA Buffalo Bisons, where he hit .317 in 28 games. Overall, his slash line was .287/.347/.393 in 122 games with 7 homers and 71 RBIs.

He earned a job as a back-up infielder with the Blue Jays at the start of the 2020 season and made his debut as the starter at third base in the team's second game, against the Tampa Bay Rays on July 25th. He went 0 for 2 with a strikeout. The next day, he was the first "additional runner" in Jays history as he pinch-ran for C Danny Jansen to start the 10th inning on second base. He proceeded to steal third base on a close play and score on a sacrifice fly by Lourdes Gurriel, but the Jays still lost the game when Tampa rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning. He got to play often when SS Bo Bichette missed a month of the shortened season with an injury, filling in along with Joe Panik and trade acquisition Jonathan Villar, although he was clearly the better fielder of the three. After Bichette's return, he twice served as an emergency pitcher in the span of a week, on September 11th and 15th, in a 18-1 loss against the New York Mets and a 20-6 beatdown at the hands of the New York Yankees, respectively. In both cases, he pitched the final inning, giving up one run both times, in order to save a badly battered bullpen.

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