The next question up in our roundtable series is whether or not Enrique Hernandez should be in the starting lineup every day or not.
Thank you to all of the people who submitted questions for our series.
I am just about the biggest Enrique Hernandez fan in the world, but while he’s shown improvement, he’s still not great against right handed pitching. He’s going to be in the lineup every time they face a lefty and should get ample playing time against righties, but I’m not sure if he’s the Dodgers best everyday option at any of the positions he can play.
At second, Chase Utley and Howie Kendrick should be ahead of him against righties. Short belongs to Corey Seager, third to Justin Turner. Yasiel Puig needs to be in the lineup every day, and Joc Pederson is quietly putting together a very promising season and should be the everyday starter in center. That leaves left field, which will be some mix of Kiké, Carl Crawford, Trayce Thompson and Howie Kendrick until Andre Ethier returns. Crawford is still very good offensively if he’s ever healthy, and Kendrick has handled the position well enough and just needs to turn his offense around. As much as I love him, Kiké is likely still a platoon player getting spot starts against righties, which still has a ton of value given his versatility.
Call me crazy but Hernandez is not one of my favorite players. There is no denying Kiké’s ability against left handers, but he is still weak against right handers. Also, I feel like his whole popularity accelerated really fast. He has been great this season, but overall I do not see him as a starter.
Hernandez has been a great get since coming over to the Dodgers in the Dee Gordon trade. Hernandez has crushed opposing southpaws to the tune of a career 1.107 OPS and an utterly ridiculous wRC+ of 203 (100 is the league average). However, against same handed pitching, Hernandez has struggled to a .645 OPS and 80 wRC+ both comfortably below average. That being said I feel like the Dodgers have use Hernandez perfectly so far this season having him play everyday against left-handers and giving him the odd start against RHP. Much of Hernandez’ value is tied up in his ability to multiple positions (started at 6 different positions last year) so tying him down to one position as an everyday player would seem counter-productive to me.
You love Kiké. I love Kiké. We all love Kiké. But…I’m going to have to say no on this one. He holds a special place in the hearts of Dodger fans for hitting two dingers off of baseball sheriff Madison Bumgarner on Jackie Robinson Day, but his offense against right-handers just isn’t going to cut it. He doesn’t exactly have any kind of a track record of hitting right-handed pitching, so there’s not much reason to think he’ll start. His defense all over the diamond, penchant for crushing lefties, and the energy he brings to the team makes him a very useful player, but the Dodgers have better options against right-handed pitchers.
Kiké absolutely deserves to be an everyday player. When he came over he was viewed primarily as a utility guy, but no one could have predicted how good of a hitter he would become. After an incredible season last year and a great start to this season, it’s time to admit that his production is no fluke. While there is no clear-cut position open for him, Kiké’s versatility should allow him to start most games, regardless of position. Since most of his damage comes against lefties he could be viewed as a platoon option, but I would love to see him have the opportunity to prove himself as a well-rounded hitter.
I think Kiké should only be a platoon player for the time being. Puig should have a permanent spot in the lineup, while against lefties we should see Kiké & Trayce. Kiké is hitting .471 this year off lefties so that should be his role. A .171 average against righties shows to me that Kiké is more of a situational player.
Probably not. He brings a lot of value because he can play several positions and crushes left-handed pitching. However, that typically doesn’t lend itself to an everyday role.
If every starter the Dodgers faced was left-handed, YES! Kiké destroys left-handers, but until he proves he can be at least productive against right-handers, he should remain the best utility player on the planet.