Coming into 2020, we’d seen enough of Teoscar Hernandez to know he had a lot of potential. In the two and a bit seasons he’d played for the Blue Jays, he hit .238/.304/.482 with 56 home runs in 285 games, after coming over in trade with the Astros (along with Nori Aoki for Francisco Liriano).
He had a pretty great second half of the 2019, hitting .240/.316/.514, so we had hopes that it would carry over to 2020.
Baseball Reference has him at a 1.3 WAR (better than his 1.2 WAR last year, in 2.5 times as many games) and FanGraphs has him at 1.6 WAR.
Teoscar had a .384 wOBA and a 146 wRC+.
Teoscar’s walk rate was 6.8% down from 9.7 last year. Strikeout rate was 30.4% down from 33.0% last year. The way the ball was flying off his back, I’m ok with him not waiting around for walks.
Compared to 2019, his line drive rate was up (25.8% from 17.8%), ground ball down (35.9% from 39.0) and fly ball down (38.3% from 43.2). Many more of his fly balls like the park (32.7% from 22.8%). That puts him 5th highest in the AL. He popped the ball up half as often as last year (6.1% from 12.3).
His hard contact was way (48.8% from 43.8), and soft contact down (11.6% from 16.2%).
Teoscar’s BABIP was way up (.348, from .293), which makes sense considering the line drives and hard contact was up.
He hit LHP (.275/.327/.608) with more power than RHP (.295/.344/.568), but hit both about the same.
He didn’t hit well with RISP (.238/.313/.452). Last year he crushed the ball with RISP. Maybe it isn’t a separate skill set.
Teoscar hit slightly better on the road (.295/.344/.607) than at Buffalo (.282/.333/.538).
Hernandez by month:
- July: .321/.355/.821 with 4 home runs in 7 games.
- August: .296/.349/.582 with 8 home runs in 26 games.
- September: .266/.319/.469 with 4 home runs in 17 games.
On defense, he played 325 innings in RF and 55 in CF. He made 3 errors, 2 fielding, 1 throwing, for a .965 FA.
FanGraphs has him at a -9.2 UZR per 150. As always, too small a sample to trust UZR but it pretty much equals what my eyes see.
Outs above average has him at a -4.
Baserunning? FanGraphs has him 1 run above average on the bases. One of the few Jays on the positive side, third best on the team behind Joe Panik and Jonathan Villar.
Where he hit in the lineup:
1st: 3 times.
2nd: 1 time.
3rd: 11 times.
4th: 26 times.
5th: 1 time.
6th: 2 times.
7th: 2 times.
8th: 1 time.
Defense is the issue.
He’s 28, and he’s played the outfield since he was a teenager, and yet we still see his defense as a work in progress. I think we will have to give in to the idea that it isn’t going to get better.
He does a couple of things that bother me:
- He tends to let balls go past him and get to the wall, where he picks the ball up. I’d prefer it if he tried to cut the ball off before it gets to the wall. It would save us some bases.
- Sometimes, and he seems to be getting better, when Teoscar does get to the ball, he’ll turn and throw it without thinking about where he should be throwing. He has a good arm. He had 7 outfield assists, so likely he’s above breakeven with the arm.
- And sometimes he let’s fly balls land instead of going for the catch. I guess the nice way to say it is that he’s careful, but sometimes it would be nice if he went for the catch. He’s fast. He could help out his pitchers more.
But then, if he hits like he did this year, I’ll forgive it all. If we had a better defensive center fielder, it might take some pressure off his defense.
With the bat, the only question is can he keep this level up for a full 162 game season. He’s always been a streak hitter, but the whole 60 game season was a hot streak for him. He never went more than 2 games without a hit. And he had a 15-game hitting streak, from August 20 to September 3, where he hit .365/.459/.731.
I’m hoping we get to see what he can do with a full season next year.
I would grade Teoscar Hernandez’ 2020 season a
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