The Dodgers have had the luxury of two super utility men in Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez. In 2019, both will be counted on even more with an opening at second base.
For a couple of seasons now the Dodgers have had one of the best luxuries in baseball in Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez. Both players have been super subs playing all over the field and Kiké even made a pitching appearance last season to save the bullpen in Philadelphia. Now both are set to play even bigger roles in 2019.
Since it’s Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood, this is the equivalent of the two super utility men going from supporting actors to a lead role. With no designated starter at second base, Taylor and Hernandez are set to battle it out in spring training for the “starting” second base role. Even if one is declared the starter, both players will see significant time at second base, in addition to their utility roles.
The most likely scenario, and one that Dodger fans will hate hearing is that a platoon will form at second base. Kiké Hernandez has a career .847 OPS against lefties but that drops down to just .665 against right-handed pitching. Chris Taylor has been more balanced with a .769 OPS against righties and a .765 OPS against southpaws. If Kiké fills in at other positions against lefties such as the outfield, then that is one way that Chris Taylor would get most of the starts at second base.
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Still, the Dodgers have made it known this off-season that they are going to cut down on their platoons in 2019 and likely give Cody Bellinger a chance to play every day. If Bellinger proves to be good enough against lefties then Kiké could see a reduced role in 2019 depending on what Alex Verdugo does. The Dodgers may choose to sit Verdugo against lefties which would once again open up more playing time for Kiké.
With Corey Seager returning from multiple surgeries, the Dodgers are likely going to give him a couple games off a week to ease him back into action. Kiké and Taylor are the only backups capable of playing shortstop which means both should see enough action on the middle infield to play bigger roles in 2019. Should Seager suffer a setback then both Taylor and Hernandez would start and make up the Dodgers’ middle infield.
With no set starter at second base, Chris Taylor and Kiké Hernandez are going to be two of the most important players for the Dodgers in 2019. Even if they split time at second base, both make up a big safety net for the Dodgers at multiple positions. While they may not be the best players on the club, both Kiké Hernandez and Chris Taylor are vital to the Dodgers’ success in 2019.