© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

06/25/09 11:00 AM ET

Espinosa heading to Futures Game

Nationals impressed with shortstop's defensive prowess

WASHINGTON -- Shortstop Danny Espinosa is considered one of the Nationals' best prospects.

Besides being an above-average defender, Espinosa is not bad with the bat, hitting .264 with nine home runs and 33 RBIs.

No wonder Espinosa has been invited to play for the U.S. Team in the XM All-Star Futures Game in July. He is the only shortstop on the team and will be managed by Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith.

The 11th annual XM All-Star Futures Game, pitting the best Minor League prospects from the United States against the best from the rest of the World, will be held at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on All-Star Sunday, July 12, at 2 p.m. ET. MLB.com will provide complete coverage before, during and after the game, which can be seen live on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on Gameday.

Drafted in the third round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, Espinosa has the Nationals raving about his big league potential. He could make his Major League debut within two years.

Espinosa was able to get off to a good start in his first year in pro ball, going 21-for-64 (.328) with four RBIs for Class A Vermont.

Espinosa attended Long Beach State and followed a long line of shortstops including Troy Tulowitzki, Chris Gomez and Bobby Crosby.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.