Except our alternative to Espi, Lombardozzi, doesn't do anything after he makes contact. He has no power and actually doesn't get on base any more frequently than Espinosa. Being able to put the ball in play at a high rate isn't very valuable if those balls in play are all weak grounders and popouts.
Espi hit about 35 points in OPS better than Lombo. Is that a significant difference? Is there a measure of clutch hitting? Maybe I've come to expect Espi to strike out, just as I learned to expect Alfonso Soriano to swing at, and miss, a fast-ball down the middle but up around his eyes. Saw it so many times when Soriano was the hotshot young 2b for the Yankees.
Considering that many of Lombo's at-bats came as a late-inning replacement or a pinch-hitter, does anyone how Lombo hit when he started? What were his numbers when Desmond was on the DL?
My feeling is that a strikeout is a dead loss, but is not weighted properly in the indirect stats (the numbers based on combining other numbers). A K is one-third of an inning given up. If a sacrifice is bad, how much worse is a K? Espinosa struck-out almost 30% of the time. Usually, that is the sign of a player swing for the fences. Espinosa is not a big guy...not Morse...so persuade him to meet the ball and drive it. Seventeen homers does not balance nearly 200 K's.
Espinosa has to improve.