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Dodgers: Is A Great Spring Training Start A Sign Of Things To Come For Kiké Hernández?

MILWAUKEE, WI - OCTOBER 13: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers fields the ball against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning in Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Miller Park on October 13, 2018 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

During his four seasons with the Dodgers, Kiké Hernández has had various levels of success at the plate. He’s played every position but catcher (#LetKikéCatch) in his career with the Dodgers and plays them all very well. The versatility he provides the Dodgers is invaluable as he helps allow them to keep an 8-man bullpen and maintain lineup flexibility. He’s also made himself a fan favorite and a key member of the Dodgers. The big question for Kiké would be, can he hit consistently?

Kiké Through The Years

As stated above Kiké has had various levels of success at the plate over the years with the Dodgers:

Year

AB

Hits

HR

RBI BB K AVG OBP SLG

2015

202

62

7

22

11

46

.307

.346

.490

2016

216

41

7

18

28

64

.190

.283

.324

2017

297

64

11

37

41

80

.215

.308

.421

2018 402

103

21

52 50 78 .256 .336

.470

As you can see above he had a very good 2015, a terrible 2016, some improvement in 2017 and a pretty good 2018 as a semi-regular. In 2018 his strikeout rate improved and he produced a WAR of 2.8 according to Baseball Reference. Probably the biggest surprise in 2018 was his jump in home runs with 21. The most important part of 2018 for Kiké was that he became a full-time player by September and he played in a career high 145 games. His season ended on a down note as he struggled a lot in both the NLCS and World Series.

Approaching 2019

Various reports speculate that Hernández will have a full shot at winning the second base job, fill in for Corey Seager (hopefully not much) and platoon with Joc Pederson in left field. Kiké is two years away from free agency and he is entering his age 28-season in 2019. It is not unreasonable to expect him to have a career-best year as he should be entering his prime. He’s gotten past not being able to hit right handed pitching, limits his strikeouts and does a decent job of getting his walks. The increase in power and his defense make him a valuable member of the lineup on both the offensive and defensive sides.


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Spring Training 2019

After an off-season that saw Kiké get married and spend a lot of time at Dodger Stadium getting ready for the season, he’s gotten off to a great start in Spring Training. He is slashing .400/.435/.550 in his first 20 at bats of Spring Training, which is a small sample size but encouraging. In general, he’s also looked good at the plate as he seems to feel comfortable while batting in key spots in the lineup. One thing that impressed me in an interview he did on SiriusXM on MLB Network Radio, he spoke about his continued willingness to sacrifice some at bats to play on a great team like the Dodgers. He is setting a great example as a veteran of the team and a key part of the culture of the team.

Final Thoughts

Many fans, when they think of Kiké Hernández, think of a goofy guy who is a decent player who plays a lot of positions. Now, he is still quite the character but that should not be mistaken for someone who doesn’t work hard. By all accounts he is very serious about his job and it shows. The improvements on the field along with dietary changes show how the hard work is paying off. Spring Training is only the beginning of a big season for Kiké and I’m predicting he will be an even bigger part of the Dodgers’ success than before. I fully expect at least 500 plate appearances for Kiké with his career best in a number of areas. He could not happen to a better and more deserving player than Kiké Hernández.

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

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  1. I’m not sure what to make of Kike Hernandez whether he is more productive as utility player or a “quasi-regular.” I know he went off for 3-hrs against the Cubs in 2017 NLCS.

  2. He’s played all positions except catcher and played them all very well. I guess you missed his stint on the mound. And hopefully, Doc never ever gives up on a game again and puts Kike on the hill again.

  3. Slow your roll. It is spring training. Anyone know who led the Cactus League in hitting last year? Team with the best record? No researching.allowed. Nice that he is doing well, but these games don’t count.

  4. Kike is the gift that keeps on giving!!!!! Most everyone seemed to hate Farhan and Friedman trading Dee Gordon way back then, but it made sense to me when they did it. Evaluating things now, the Dodgers clearly made out on this deal. And if Farhan/Freidman had kept Heaney, instead of flipping him to the Angels, the differential would have been even bigger……..Thank you Marlins!

    • It should be Kike……….but knowing Dave, it will be anyone and everyone who he needs to get in the lineup so they do not fell left out!

        • hello bluz1st! Concur, at this stage it should be Hernandez at 2nd and NO PLATOONING with Taylor or Muncy . But you are correct and I am convinced that the way roberts has ‘hinted’ around things this ST, that they are not telling us the truth about their platooning intentions and I fear we will see a repeat scenario of how he and Freidman ran the team last year…

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