Dodgers: Kiké Hernández Capitalizing on a Long Overdue Opportunity
The Dodgers have been off to a hot start this season, and it shows through every player. However, one of the hottest players isn’t one of the bigger names you’d expect.
Kiké Hernández has been helping the Dodgers secure wins both offensively and defensively this year. Taking a look back to 2015, Hernández has been a very versatile asset to the Dodgers. As a utility player, he has played every position, except catcher. Throughout 2015-17 he has progressively been given more opportunities to play and gradually has started more games.
In 2018, he appeared in 145 games, a career high. After showing signs of potential, manager Dave Roberts made sure that he found a way to try and insert Hernández into the everyday lineup.
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Weeks before the start of the 2019 season, Roberts made the conscious decision to make Hernández his everyday starting second baseman, and so far it has paid off. Prior to the start of Thursday’s day game, he was hitting .378, with an on-base percentage of .478, and his OPS is 1.208. These numbers rank him first among second basemen in all of baseball.
One of Hernández’ biggest changes this season has been his ability to successfully hit right-handed pitchers. Career wise he is hitting .254 against righties. In 2019, he is hitting .318 and has two homers. His inability to hit righties usually resulted in him being benched in the past, but not anymore.
As if his hot start with the bat wasn’t enough, he provides gold glove caliber defense every night. Hernández not only has arguably the best glove on the team, but he also has proven in his career to be one of the more underrated defenders in the game, especially at second base.
His ability to make crucial plays on a consistent basis makes him one of the most valuable players on the Dodgers. If Hernández can keep up his stellar play, he has a high possibility of not only competing for a gold glove award but also has a chance to be named as an All-Star for the first time in his career.