Dodgers: It’s Time to Bench Kiké Hernandez Against Righties

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 01: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits an RBI single in the third inning of the MLB game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on June 01, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 01: Enrique Hernandez #14 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits an RBI single in the third inning of the MLB game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Dodger Stadium on June 01, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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After improving against right-handed pitching in 2018, Kiké Hernandez has once again become unplayable against righties. It’s time for the Dodgers to bench Kiké against righties.

In 2018, the Dodgers were the beneficiary of a career-best season from Kiké Hernandez.  The one knock on Kiké was his inability to hit right-handed pitching but last season he posted an OPS above .800 against right-handers while hitting .250.  This season the Dodgers’ energetic spark plug has gone back to struggling against righties.

This season entering Saturday night’s game, Kiké had a .179/.233/.336 slash line against right-handed pitching.  Against lefties, Hernandez has been solid as usual but he has become unplayable against righties.  Even with last season, his slash line against righties over the past 3 seasons is a mediocre .209/.289/.370.

Hernandez’s struggles have made the potent Dodger lineup become very unintimidating at the bottom of the order.  Kiké, Austin Barnes, and the pitcher spot usually make up the bottom of the order against right-handed starters and right now that is giving away three easy outs.  Unless Kiké gets hot against righties there is no reason to start him when everyone is healthy.

The one caveat to the idea of benching Kiké against righties is the current state of the roster.  Corey Seager is out which means Taylor or Kiké are guaranteed to start at shortstop while he is out and then the team still needs to start someone else at second base, with the likely option being whoever doesn’t get the start at shortstop.

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It’s become clear that Kiké is a platoon player and should be used the way that Joc Pederson is but against right-handed pitching.  What does this mean against right-handed pitching?  The Dodgers can either start Chris Taylor at second when Corey Seager returns or start Max Muncy at second base with David Freese picking up more playing time.  For now, Kiké will get starts against righties since Pollock and Seager are still out.

Once Pollock and Seager are back, that opens the door for the Dodgers to use Hernandez in a strict platoon.  Taylor can get the starts against right-handed pitchers at second base with Max Muncy at first base, or the team could move Bellinger back to first, with Muncy at second base, and Alex Verdugo starting in right field.  The versatility of the roster will give the Dodgers a chance to try many different lineups once everyone is healthy.

dark. Next. The Dodgers should look into an Adam Cimber trade

Kiké Hernandez is still a very valuable player to the Dodgers and giving him a spot start against righties every now and then is fine but he should not be a regular starter against righties.  Start him every game against lefties and he can sub in at times when a right-handed starter opposes the Dodgers.