The Dodgers began the spring with an open competition at second base between Kikè Hernandez and Chris Taylor. With a couple of weeks, until the season begins, Kikè looks like the favorite to start at second base.
Coming into spring training, the Dodgers were set at second base with Chris Taylor and Kikè Hernandez both atop the depth chart. While it was unknown who would emerge as the starter, the expectation is that both would receive plenty of playing time around the diamond as they usually do.
So far, Kikè Hernandez has had an impressive spring and looks like the favorite to start at second base. This spring, Kikè has hit .423 with two home runs and an OPS over 1.000. Taylor has gotten off to a much slower start with no home runs and a .227 average. CT3 also saw some regression last year as his OPS dropped almost one hundred points and he saw a regression in nearly every offensive statistic.
Kikè, on the other hand, had a career year in 2018. He posted a .256/.336/.470 slash line while hitting a career-high 21 home runs. On top of his best season power-wise, Hernandez also hit right-handed pitching must better after struggling against righties his first few seasons. Last year, Kikè hit .252 against righties with a .833 OPS which was much better than his career average of .221 against righties with a .665 OPS.
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While his power statistics were much better in 2018, Kikè didn’t necessarily hit the ball harder as his average exit velocity was 88 miles per hour which equals his career average. He did cut down on his strikeout rate which was 16.9% and several points lower than his career strikeout rate of 21.4%. In 2019 we will see if Kikè can once again hit right-handed pitching or if last season was an aberration.
Regardless of who starts at second base, both Chris Taylor and Kikè Hernandez should receive plenty of playing time. Not only will the Dodgers rotate between the two at second base, but Corey Seager will also likely be eased back into game action and receive more days off than usual to begin the season. Then there is left field where the Dodgers have two left-handed options in Alex Verdugo and Joc Pederson, so Taylor and Hernandez will get playing time there against lefties.
The Dodgers will once again flex the deepest roster in baseball again for the 2019 season so while Chris Taylor and Kikè Hernandez battle for the bulk of starts at second base, both will end up playing a large number of games. So far, Kikè has gotten off to a hot start and could be primed to double down on his career season from 2018. If he does then the Dodgers will have an everyday starter at second base.