in

2019 Could Be a Defining Year for Kiké Hernández

Dodgers
May 12, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Enrique Hernandez (14) slams his helmet on the ground after being called out on strikes as Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart (right) heads back to the dugout during the seventh inning at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

At first glance, it’s easy to assume that Kiké Hernández gets his at-bats just by being a super-utility type player. That’s a fair assumption given his .227/.314/.420 slash line over the last three seasons. He does not seem to be the type of player that will light it up in the stat column, but some of his deeper numbers reveal a lot about his value to the Dodgers.

The Advanced Stats

The first number that pops out at you is his overall WAR in 2018. Hernandez put up a 2.8 WAR while playing a career-high 145 games for Los Angeles. That can be attributed to a few different factors, but that tells you right off the bat that his slash line does not define him as a player. He accomplished this in part by cutting his strikeout percentage WAY down in 2018. He went from striking out 26.2 percent of the time in 2016 to 23.4 percent in 2015. That number took an even bigger hit last season when he dropped it down to a career-low 16.9 percent. Any time you can put the ball in play more often, you’re bound to add some value.

Hernandez also has a tendency to hit the ball a long way when he connects considering how small he is in stature.  In fact, his isolated power measured at .214 during the 2018 season. That puts him ahead of Cody Bellinger, Charlie Blackmon, Jose Abreu, and even Mike Moustakas in raw power. Isolated power is measured generally by subtracting a players’ batting average from his slugging to reveal how many extra bases they average per at bat.

If you dig even deeper, you really start to see how 2018 was a huge year for the super-utility man. Hernadez carried a weighted on-base average of 342, which actually made him one of the top sixty players in all of baseball. Hernandez also had the best defensive year of his career, measuring well above average according to FanGraph‘s measures. His wRC+ was also his best mark for a full season at 118. That would put him well ahead of his mark of 92 he set in 2017.

Looking Ahead to 2019

Barring any sort of drastic moves, it sure looks like Hernandez will be getting a ton of playing time in 2019. The Dodgers have essentially committed to a second base by committee type situation and that does not appear to be changing. He also could be getting more reps in the outfield after losing a few in a trade.  And it could not come at a perfect time or him. Kiké will be eligible for free agency following the 2020 season at a time when GM’s drool over a guy with that much versatility. Look for this season to truly be a defining moment in his career. Will he show that 2018 was not a fluke, or will he crack under the pressure? Only time will tell.

Also- we probably don’t want to measure his value according to his pitching.

[button link=”https://www.dodgersnation.com/the-dodgers-biggest-mistake-of-the-off-season/2019/01/11/” type=”big” color=”red”] THE DODGERS’ BIGGEST MISTAKE OF THE OFF-SEASON [/button]

What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote

Written by Brook Smith

Brook is the Senior Editor of Dodgers Nation, with several years of experience in sports journalism. He is an avid Dodgers and Lakers fan, and can be spotted fairly often at Dodger Stadium and Staples Center.

5 Comments

Leave a Reply
  1. Hernandez will get plenty of playing because he is a RHB and believe or not folks, Dodgers will see tons of LHP, being they are basically a 1 sided lefty offense.

  2. Hernandez should not make the 25 man roster he can’t hit and has almost no upside. There are lot of player in aa and aaa that can hit 220 and strike out everytime men on scoring position.

    • Well as of now the fact that he does hit RH is why he will be on the roster. however the off season is not over with yet, so wss. And asking those guys in AA & AAA to come up here and contribute if they are not ready is not an option. Bottom line here for now anyway….IIWII (It is what it is)….

    • Larry I can’t believe you said that! Did you read the article? Have you seen him play? He’s a stud at every position! That’s rare and valuable. And a WAR of 2.5 means he’s better than the average player you could replace him with.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Dodgers Add Interesting Bullpen Catcher For 2019

Dodgers

Dodgers Announce 2019 Minor League Coaching Staff