Dodgers Lineups: Kiké Hernández Making Case as Primary Second Baseman

hernandez_muncy
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)

While it’s certainly nice to have a bench player who can cover any spot on the field, it’s tough to keep said player on the pine when he’s performing better than many of the starters.

Indeed, we have written quite a bit about Enrique Hernandez and the super-utility capabilities he gives the Dodgers, but will 2019 finally be the year we see his name more frequently on the daily lineup card?

Skipper Dave Roberts has already told reporters that this season may see less platooning, especially if shortstop Corey Seager and center fielder A.J. Pollock are able to stay healthy. In another breath, Roberts has said that Cody Bellinger will see time in both right field and first base, while Max Muncy will almost certainly be a permanent fixture in the lineup, so long that he’s producing. Team boss Andrew Friedman added that Alex Verdugo will likely see plenty of action this year, finally giving the youngster an opportunity to prove his worth at the big league level. Plus, they’ll need to figure out a way to get Chris Taylor a reasonable amount of looks at one position or another.

If that doesn’t create one giant platoon, I don’t know what does.

Regardless, during 2019 Cactus League play, Hernandez has been showing that he wants an everyday spot for the coming season. So far during the spring, he’s hit .375/.400/.750 with three doubles, three home runs and 11 RBI. What’s more, he’s been displaying his superior skills with his glove, especially at the middle infield spots.

Yet, we all know that Hernandez is notorious for his streaks. During the tail end of the 2018 regular season, he was so hot that the coaching staff made him a regular starter in the postseason—that is, until he cooled off mightily. Between the NLDS, the NLCS and the World Series last year, he went just 5-for-41, opening the door for Taylor to see most of the playing time at the keystone.

Then there are the splits. Career-wise, Hernandez has always been known as a lefty-killer. Against southpaws, his lifetime slash line is .266/.354/.493, but he has hit just .221/.288/.377 against right-handed pitching. However, if his 2018 season is any indication of the direction he’s headed, his slash line of .252/.338/.495 against righty pitching definitely shows tremendous progress.

Even though he wasn’t considered a regular starter last year, Roberts was still able to find a way to get Hernandez in 145 games, allowing him to collect 402 AB and 462 PA. Believe it or not, those 402 AB were good enough for the sixth-most on the club, just three behind Yasiel Puig‘s 405.

Hernandez’s efforts in 2018 produced a 3.2 WAR, so there’s no question that he’s valuable.

In the end, it’s up to Friedman and Roberts to figure out if Hernandez is better suited coming off the bench or in a starting role. Obviously, he’ll garner plenty of starts against lefty pitching, but even if he’s not a permanent starter against right-handed pitching, 140+ appearances and more than 400 AB surely isn’t anything to sneeze at, particularly for a super-utility player.

 

Advertisements

11 thoughts on “Dodgers Lineups: Kiké Hernández Making Case as Primary Second Baseman

  1. The object of the game is Produce–not platoon. Maybe they should start platooning managers and see who produces. Watch out Roberts, Utley is use to producing and not platooning!

    Like

  2. I never thought Kike would be able to keep a BA high enough to keep an everyday job. Good for him, for proving me and a lot of others wrong.

    Like

  3. Words of Tommy Lasorda…..you never really know what you have until you have played at least 50 games of the season…..I heard Tommy say that more than once. So, come the first week of June, we should have some inkling of what kind of team has been assembled. I am old school, so I like running the same 8 out there almost every night. I think the best 8 are your best winning option. That is not so much the philosophy here anymore. They are what they are and it is not going to change in the near future unless somebody else buys the team and comes in with a new idea. I am also going to have to eat a little crow, but that is fine, I am not always right and I know that. With Cingrani shut down and most likely to open the season on the IL, there will be an opening for a lefty in the pen, so Scoop, looks like Urias will most likely open the season with the big club and not in OKC being stretched out. He has pitched much better than Ferguson so he has earned his place.

    Like

    1. I don’t see a lot of new faces in our lineup. Seager is back at short and Pollock is in center. Looks to me everybody else on the field knows full well what their role is as they’ve been doing it for quite a while now.

      We’ve won the Division 6 straight times and the last 4 times it’s been done using the Friedman blueprint so I see no reason why those plans would change. We are a free swinging launch angle driven group of role players that are once again favored to win the pennant. Why mess with a winning formula? If suddenly it doesn’t work, well, then they go to work on Plan B. But there is no reason to deviate from Plan A. Everybody on the roster gets 400 at bats and every pitcher on the 40 gets innings, some now, some later. It’s a 180 game season for this group. Take it one week at a time.

      Like

      1. There is one thing that is going to throw a little wrench into the way they operate, it is that there no longer is a 10 day DL. The Il as it is called now is back to being a 15 day stay. So the way Friedman manipulated that is no longer part of the equation. Also the new rules will start trickling down soon. When the 3 batter limit hits, Roberts is going to have to have pitchers ready a lot earlier than before. Because now they have to face 3 hitters when they come out of the pen. No more than 28 players on the roster in September soon too. Teams wanting to check out their kids when they are out of the race will take a hit on that one. Next year the regular season rosters expand to 26.

        Like

  4. Let’s not get too excited until we start see him against real major league pitchers. First 2 weeks is double a/triple a last 2 weeks is triple a/big league. Every spring we forget that the stats mean absolutely nothing.

    Like

  5. But the advantage of having a deep and versatile team was seen last year by the Dodgers. They lost arguably their best four players for extended periods of time including Seager for the year and still went to the WS. But I agree with you bear about a more consistent lineup this year without so many injuries. Especially coddling our young lefties against left handed pitching. Let’s see what they got! And can somebody please shorten up and go the other way with 2 strikes and even lay down a bunt against the shift!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can’t launch a bunt opposite the shift Rich. This organization has green lighted swinging for the fences. We heard rumors they will change that approach depending on situation. I’ll believe it when I see it. Actually this year I’ll believe it when I read about it. The formula has worked four years running. Bunting is for sissies. Only candy pants go opposite field. We are 6 time Division Champions. Launch away Blue!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Since computer guided defensive positioning has become an offense-limiting trend, the one sure way to beat it is to hit the ball over the fence. That takes away the fun of small-ball strategy. And the fun of watching Sports Center highlights the next morning is less when every replay event is a home run.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s definitely frustrating to see the constant strikeouts with runners at third with less than 2 outs and all the solo home runs. Joc made a serious improvement wth his strikeouts last year and Belli and CT3 need to do the same this year.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.