Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Could Teoscar Hernandez Develop Into A Viable Option Or Is He One To Ignore?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Teoscar Hernandez has taunted us with his talent in the past, but he never had the true opportunity to fully show it in the Majors.  That finally came with the Blue Jays in ’18, and he again showed signs of being a viable option (though there wasn’t across the board success):

476 At Bats
.239 Batting Average (114 Hits)
22 Home Runs
57 RBI
67 Runs
5 Stolen Bases
.302 On Base Percentage
.468 Slugging Percentage
.313 Batting Average on Balls in Play

While he did hit the ball hard (37.3% Hard%) and showed off some power, his average/plate discipline bring significant questions.  While he wasn’t chasing outside of the strike zone (32.2% O-Swing%), his ability to make consistent contact just wasn’t there.

Hernandez struggled with a 17.8% SwStr% leading to a 31.2% strikeout rate.  If it was one type of pitch that he couldn’t make contact against then maybe we could project an improvement, but that wasn’t the case (Whiff%):

  • Hard – 16.54%
  • Breaking – 21.48%
  • Offspeed – 25.85%

He had shown signs of these types of issues coming up through the minors, just look at the strikeout rates at Triple-A a year ago which came courtesy of a 13.8% SwStr%:

  • Houston (301 AB) – 20.7%
  • Toronto (99 AB) – 27.5%

His struggles grew as the season wore on, with a 39.5% strikeout rate in the second half, and part of it may have been an obsession with trying to hit home runs.  His fly ball rate went from 42.0% in the first half to 47.4% in the second half.  With a 45.7% fly ball rate at Triple-A in ’17, it again is a reasonable spike and further clouds the issue.

Sure the inflated fly ball rate could lead to a little bit more power, but it also will likely lead to a regression in his BABIP.  While using the whole field helps (26.3% Oppo%), it won’t be enough to overcome the issues.  There’s a good chance Hernandez’ average further slides, and there’s a better chance that he hits .220 or worse than there is that he reaches .250.

While there’s a little bit of speed he’s not likely to steal 20+ bases and the power is nice, but unspectacular.  Maybe he’s a 15/15 player, but that isn’t a given and with the likely average struggles he could lose his job altogether.  At this point it’s fair to consider him a high risk, high reward type option, but one that isn’t worth more than a late round flier.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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