In his four seasons (plus a month) with the Blue Jays, we watched Teoscar Hernandez grow from being a good player to an All-Star and Silver Slugger award winner. He’s gone from a player with potential to a being star player.
His 32 home runs season in 2021 ties him for 40th on our All-Time list for most home runs in a season. And his 116 RBIs gave him the 13th most in a season for a Jay.
The open question was could he match it this year?
Well, not quite.
Baseball Reference has him at a 2.7 WAR (down from 3.9 last year). FanGraphs at 2.4 (down from 4.3), giving him a value of $19.4 million to the Blue Jays.
Teoscar had a .348 wOBA (down from .369) and a 129 wRC+ (down from 132, offense was down throughout baseball last year).
Teoscar’s walk rate was 6.4% (up slightly from 6.1% last year). The strikeout rate was 28.4% ( up from 24.9%).
Compared to 2021, his line drive rate was down (21.6% from 25.5), ground ball rate up (44.1% from 38.4) and fly ball rate was down slightly (34.3% from 36.1). His fly balls left the park at much the same rate (21.0% from 21.9).
His soft contact was down (10.1% from 12.9). Hard contact was (43.8% from 36.6%).
His BABIP was down a little (.335 from .352).
Hernandez was one of the few of our right-handed hitters who hit left-handed pitchers (.286/.330/.648) much better than right-handed pitchers (.262/.313/.456).
With RISP, he hit .269/.331/.521.
Teoscar hit slightly better at home (.259/.309/.519) than on the road (.273/.323/.465).
Teoscar hit about the same in the first half (.265/.315/.474) as the second half (.268/.318/.511).
Hernandez by month:
- April: ..316/.435/.526 with 1 home run in 6 games.
- May: .151/.195/.233 with 1 home run in 19 games.
- June: .327/.357/.608 with 6 home runs in 27 games.
- July: .286/.346/.520 with 6 home runs in 26 games.
- August: .244/.306/.467 with 5 home runs in 25 games.
- September: .277/.314/.536 with 6 home runs in 28 games.
On defense Teoscar played:
- 966.2 innings in right field, with 4 errors (3 fielding, 1 throwing) for a .983 FA (league average was .988) with 10 assists.
- 33.1 innings in left field, with no errors or assists.
FanGraphs has him at a -5.3 UZR in right field, so slightly worse than the average. Outs Above Average has him at -5, with would be tired for worst in the AL among right-fielders.
I don’t think he is terrible in the outfield, but I do think that he has moments where he (I’m not sure the polite term would be) loses his focus. Many of us have moments where we can’t keep our minds on what we are doing.
The 10 assists were more than I expected.
The telling thing about his defense is that when they bring in the defensive subs, they take Lourdes Gurriel out and move Teoscar to left. The team thinks Teoscar is the better outfielder.
Baserunning? Fangraphs has him at -2.5 runs compared to average. Last year he was 2.3 runs above average. He had 6 steals and caught 3 times.
Where he hit in the lineup:
- 3rd: 6 games.
- 4th: 52 games.
- 5th: 57 games.
- 6th: 1 game.
Teoscar’s favourite team to play? He hit .417/.462/.958 in 6 games against the White Sox.
Least favourite? He hit .000/.167/.000 in 3 games against the Reds.
His longest hitting streak was 9 games, and his longest on-base streak was 13.
The Blue Jays were 72-56 in games he started.
It was a season with a bunch of nagging injuries for Teoscar. And maddingly inconsistency. He is a player with hot and cold streaks. I guess most of us are like that. But during the cold streaks, he is hard to watch.
This off-season is Teoscar’s last arbitration year. MLB Trade Rumors figures that he’ll get $14.1 million. But then it is possible he’ll get a long-term extension. We are coming up on his age 30 season.
It will be interesting to see how he does going into his 30s. Baseball Reference’s Similarity Scores has Carlos Quentin as the most similar through the age of 29. That’s not a hopeful comparison, his age-31 season wasn’t good, and he was out of baseball after that. But then he became a star at a much younger age than Hernandez.
Yoenis Cespedes comes next and aged poorly into his 30s too, but then again, he became a star young too. Jay Buhner is the number 3 comparison, and he had his three best seasons from 30 to 32. He had 181 home runs in his 30s. And he might be the best comparison. Reggie Sanders is also high on the list of comparables and did very well in his 30s.
I wouldn’t want to sign him beyond the age 35 season. But I think that about most players. .
At some point, he will have to move to DH or at least have to DH a good percentage of the time. But then Springer will also have to play a fair bit of DH by the end of his contract. The team might have to make a choice. But that’s a problem for later.
Perhaps the team would like to wait until after next season before making a decision. Maybe they would like another chance to see if he will be a 4+ WAR player in the future or someone with WAR values in the 2s. Maybe they feel that would be worth the chance of losing him to free agency?
The team does a few decisions to make this winter.
Before the season we asked if Teoscar would have more than 28 home runs. He came up just short, so only 9% of us were right.
We had a question about what he would get for a contract extension, but he didn’t get a long-term contract (yet).
In a post about Teoscar, we asked who would lead the Jays in RBI this year. 71% of us were right guessing Vladimir Guerrero. Teoscar had 14% of the vote.
And we asked if Hernandez was ‘your favourite player.’ Only 16% said yes.
For his 2022 season I’d grade Teoscar Hernandez an
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