With his bat and his glove, Teoscar Hernandez has earned a role with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020, but in the DH role
Rather than mailing in a bunch of posts recapping the 2019 season for the entire Toronto Blue Jays roster, Jays From the Couch is going to look at what players have done in 2019 to earn in 2020. This winter, the Toronto Blue Jays will be looking to figure out their outfield situation for 2020. They have a number of candidates that could compete for a job next season, but Teoscar Hernandez really should only be given 4th outfielder consideration. Really, he’s earned a DH role.
When Hernandez came over from Houston, there was legitimate interest in his power potential and his ability to play different outfield spots. When he arrived in Toronto, he impressed with 8 HR, drive in 20 and put a wRC+ of 134. Sure, he struck out 38% of the time, but folks were willing to look past that to give him a shot at an everyday job in 2018.
That resulted in some rather shoddy defense, mostly in left field. 2018 saw him face 100 plays in LF and the results were not pretty. He put up -11 DRS and a UZR/150 of -13.8. For what it is worth, his time in right field was not much better. Hernandez had 56 plays and put up -5 DRS and a UZR/150 of -8.4. 2019 saw him play half as much time in LF and not at all in right. In cutting his playing time in half, the results were -1 DRS and a UZR/150 of 13.3. It should be noted that the Blue Jays tried Hernandez in CF this season (and not last) and he put up -7 DRS and a UZR/150 of -13.2. Overall, his career OF defense has been worth -24 DRS.
This winter, the Blue Jays will look to add to their team and may even look to take a major step forward. But, they are not yet quite where they need to be to go ‘all in’, so their margin for error is still rather small. The club will need to put a premium on preventing runs on the defensive side of things and putting Hernandez in the outfield for any extended period of time is just not going to help in that regard. Sure, Toronto has a lot of AAAA outfielder who could compete for a job next season and would produce less offense than him, but they’re sure as heck going to provide better defense.
Realistically speaking, if the Blue Jays are going to be serious about improving next year, they should give Teoscar Hernandez the day off when the glove reps come to Spring Training. Don’t even let him try on a glove. His value to the team is with his bat. Period. Even then, one has to wonder.
Offensively, Hernandez has the potential to be a real threat. He has shown that he is capable of 25+ home runs and driving in 60 or so runs. He can also chip in 30 doubles. He hits the ball hard and can drive it deep. It is this power (career ISO of .240) that makes him a decent candidate to be the DH for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2020.
Of course, all of this depends on so much that could, or could not, happen this winter. Let’s remember that hitting 20-25 home runs is not that big a deal these days. What if Hernandez were having to deal with a ball that wasn’t flying out of the park at an all time rate? Apparently, the MLB Commissioner is looking to change that. So, if a guy can only hit homers, his value could take a significant dip. I say this because Hernandez’ bat produces a career 32% strike out rate and a slash line of .237/.304/.476. The argument can be made that Hernandez is one change to the baseball used by MLB away from being even a questionable DH.
But, until then, the Blue Jays should consider him their DH in 2020. They have enough ‘in house’ options to keep his glove away from the outfield. See Lourdes Gurriel Jr. That doesn’t even allow for the possibility that they go outside of the organization for a more stable outfield option. As well, as of right now, the club looks to have specific guys set in specific positions next year. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio look to be set in their respective positions, which doesn’t really necessitate the DH spot to be used for moving guys in and out according to match ups. Sure, Manager, Charlie Montoyo, could do that, and Hernandez could see the off game in the outfield, but as things stand right now, DH should be the sole position of Teoscar Hernandez.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.