Dodgers: Kiké Hernandez is a Must Start at Shortstop for the Dodgers

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LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two run home run scoring Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning of the game off Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a two run home run scoring Austin Barnes #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning of the game off Madison Bumgarner #40 of the San Francisco Giants at Dodger Stadium on June 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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The Dodgers offense is on a power surge as they have hit nine solo home runs in the past two games.  One of the Dodgers who has shown impressive power this season is Kiké Hernandez.

The Dodgers knew that any production they would get from shortstop this season is a plus given that Corey Seager is out for the remainder of the year.  Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez have gotten the majority of the starts in Seager’s absence and lately Kiké has drawn more starts with Chris Taylor trying to get over a hamstring issue.

While the majority of the Dodgers lineup went on a slump over the past two weeks, one of the best hitters on the team during that time has been Kiké Hernandez.  In the last seven days, Kiké Hernandez has hit two home runs and posted a .318 batting average.  For the month of June, Kiké has now hit five home runs to go along with a .259 average.

Kiké has been known to mash left-handed pitching but this season his splits have been less dramatic.  Seven home runs have come against southpaws and six home runs have come against right-handed pitchers.  Two of those home runs against righties came against Stephen Strasburg so Kiké is not hitting any cheap home runs.

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Coming into this season the career high for Kiké was twelve home runs so he has already established a new career high for home runs and it’s not even the all-star break yet.  When Chris Taylor gets over his hamstring issue he will most likely be the everyday shortstop but the Dodgers should play Kiké at short every day as long as he stays on his power surge.

Chris Taylor can mix in at second base and centerfield but Kiké is showing impressive fielding ability at shortstop. Chris Taylor’s UZR/150 rating is -6.2 which rates as below average while Kiké has a UZR/150 rating of 19.8.  That’s a pretty big gap and based on recent play it proves to be accurate. Not only does Kiké have one of the strongest arms on the Dodgers, his range at shortstop has been phenomenal.

In last night’s game, Kiké helped set up Scott Alexander’s inning-ending double play by short-hopping a tricky ground ball that would have eaten up a lot of shortstops.  Hernandez was able to field the ball and get a force out at second base to keep the double play in order.  Had the ball gotten past Kiké the game would have been tied and the Cubs would have had runners on first and second with no outs at a minimum.

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While Kiké is known to be a streaky hitter, the Dodgers need to ride out his power streak as long as it goes on.  Chris Taylor has been streaky this season as well but if the Dodgers play CT3 at second base they would get an upgrade on Logan Forsythe who has been a disappointment despite his recent wave of better at-bats.  The Dodgers need to continue to start Kiké Hernandez at shortstop even when Taylor is ready to return.

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