The problem with using endpoints is that they are often arbitrarily chosen to illustrate a point. For example being the the winningest pitcher of the 80's is nice, but there's no reason those 10 seasons are more special than any other. You can hopefully quickly understand that being the winningnest pitcher from 1980-1989 (Jack Morris) in itself means as much as being the winningnest pitcher from 1984-1993 (Frank Viola) or 1977 -1986 (Ron Guidry).
To illustrate the point closer to home, take the 2007 Nats (PLEASE!). As some reporter who will go unnamed noted often as that season progressed, the Nats played much better baseball after May 9th. They ended up 9-25 before that date and 64-64 after. Problem is nothing changed on that date. No one came back from injury. No one was fired. No big trade was made. The team that existed before that date was the same as the one that existed after. The decision to use May 9th was made simply because that's when they stopped losing a bunch and started winning. But with no major change what happened after May 9th was only slightly more indicative than what happened before (because of more games played). The full season was the most telling and the story that told was of a team that wasn't very good (73-89). We all know that was more in line with the seasons that would follow than was this idea of a .500 team.
That's an example of making up an endpoint when none exists. Last year we saw something a bit less heinous. When trying to illustrate how good a healthy Nats team could be you'd hear people note that in August and September, when everyone was back and healthy, the Nats were one of the best teams in the NL going 34-20. "Whne everyone was back and healthy" is a good endpoint to use. It means something. The problem here is that the whole team was back and healthy on July 4th, not August 1st. I understand using months, just like I understand using decades. It's how we break up time in our heads so it makes a convenient shorthand to use. But there existed a real life endpoint that could be used, doesn't it make more sense to use it? The Nats went 44-34 with all hands on deck. What seems more reasonable to you? A healthy '13 Nats were a 111 win team, as predicted by their August & September record, or that these Nats were a 91 win team? I know how I lean.
Anyway this weekend gave us another chance to look at endpoints. This time with injury and Danny Espinosa. Danny claims that his problem last year was trying to play through a broken wrist. Now that the wrist has had time to heal he should be in competition for the 2nd place job. That sounds pretty good on the surface. But how does that play out against the theory I like to put forward - that it was the shoulder injury that did him in?
2011: .236 / .323 / .414
2012 to shoulder injury (9/8/12) : .258 / .323 / .421
Shoulder injury to wrist injury (4/14/13) : .162 / 231 / .271
Wrist injury in majors : .153 / .185 / .246
Wrist injury in minors : .216 / .280 / .286
Now we have to take all this with a grain of salt because we are talking about some very minor time frames here. The shoulder injury to wrist injury time frame was only 38 games (including postseason) and the wrist injury time in the majors was only 46 games. But still look at these numbers and what do you see? You see someone who was dramatically affected by a shoulder injury. At least that's what I see.
Of course like a magic eye puzzle, cross your eyes enough and you can see something different.The wrist injury could have compounded the problem. Maybe he could have gotten healthy otherwise and had a better 2nd half of the season. Maybe. If you want you can hang your hat on the pre-wrist injury 2013 numbers (though only 11 games) where he did hit for decent power (.175ISO) with a presumably unlucky BABIP (.185) and a Spring Training before that where his power wasn't terrible (.140 ISO). You can hope for a Jayson Werth like recovery, where only time was needed to get the power back.
I don't know enough about injuries to tell you whether he should be fully healed from either injury right now. At this point, two offseasons from the shoulder injury I don't feel confident saying he won't hit in 2014 because of it. I can say I wouldn't bet on it, but that's all. What I do know enough about are teams fighting for the playoffs. The Nats aren't going to give him a long leash to find his swing, so for his sake he better hope the speculation of the paragraph above not only turns out to be fact, but is proven very quickly. Otherwise Danny is bound to spend the next few years bouncing between a bench spot and organizational depth as the Nats try to convince some team he's worth dealing for.