Like many of our Blue Jays, Teoscar Hernandez has had an interesting half season.
He started the year as our left fielder, and in mid-April he was hitting ok, .250/.329/.406, not showing the power we expected, but he was getting on base.
Then he just stopped hitting. From April 19 to May 15 he .127/.191/.190 with 5 walks and 26 strikeouts. Add that and 3 errors in left field, it wasn’t that hard to decision to send him down to Buffalo.
He hit a little better for the Bison, .253/.313/.480 in 19 games.
June 5th the team brought him back up to the majors and announced he would be the everyday center fielder. We had been through a handful of center fielders, Pillar, Brito, Davis, Grichuk, even Anthony Alford played a game out there.
I wasn’t happy with the idea of Hernandez playing center. He made enough errors in left, so the idea of him getting more fly balls hit to him seemed stupid. Considering he had all of 8 games in center for Buffalo, I didn’t see that he would have had enough work at the position and I didn’t expect he would last any longer in center than the others.
His first game back was terrific. He hit 2 doubles, he stole a base and he caught all 4 fly balls that came his way.
Since returning from Buffalo he has hit .232/.284/.476 with 5 home runs, 6 walks and 26 strikeouts. And he hasn’t made an error in center field.
UZR doesn’t like his play in center, he has a -30.0 UZR/150. That’s after just 23 games, so a small sample size. He has the speed to play center, but I think the jury is still out on whether he gets good enough reads on the ball to be good at the position.
He strikes out more than you would like. 30.2% this year. And you would like him to walk more. He is the type of player who is going to get every opportunity. He can hit the ball a long way and he has enough speed he can be fun on the basepaths.
I have no real problem with them giving him the season to show if become a good defensive center fielder and if he can learn to hit the ball consistently. Whether the team does leave him out there all season might depend on Anthony Alford. At the moment Alford is on the IL. He hasn’t played since June 23rd. I haven’t heard much about the injury. There was a mention of a strained oblique, but no word on when he might be back, or if there might be more going on.
Teoscar, on the season, has hit .206/.271/.368 with 8 home runs, 19 walks, 68 strikeouts and 4 steals. Baseball Reference has him at a -0.5 WAR, FanGraphs a -0.3 WAR.
For the first half I’d grade Teoscar Hernandez an
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