The Dodgers' offseason was highlighted by the acquisition of two Japanese superstars in Shohei Ohtani and Yoshinobu Yamamoto. Rightfully so, these two have garnered many of the consideration up to now. Nevertheless, they don’t seem to be the one impactful additions the Dodgers have made because the finish of the 2023 season.
In addition they signed former Astros, Blue Jays and Mariners outfielder Teoscar Hernández to a one-year deal price $23.5 million in January. The 2021 All-Star is an influence hitter who has hit 22 or extra dwelling runs up to now 5 full seasons. Hernandez will not be with out concern as his 2023 OPS was 129 factors decrease than two years in the past and is coming off a 211 strikeout season. Along with these numbers, what are the strengths and weaknesses of his general sport?
The place Hernández excels
Hernandez's greatest energy as a hitter is his capacity to constantly influence the baseball. He’s coming off a season during which he posted a median exit velocity of 91.3 mph, within the 88th percentile in MLB, and has six consecutive seasons at or above 91.2 mph. On high of that, Hernandez has a slugging share (batted balls of 95+ mph) that has fallen into the 91st percentile or higher in three of the final 4 seasons. The rationale that is essential is that the more durable a hitter hits the ball, the extra probably it’s that the ball will lead to a strike, which implies it carries larger anticipated metrics with it.
Plus, whenever you examine his general anticipated metrics from final season to among the perceived high hitters within the sport, Hernandez stacks up fairly nicely.
How does Hernandez tire 2023?
Now I'm not making an attempt to say that Teoscar Hernández goes to have a Julio Rodríguez-level influence on this Dodgers lineup. Nevertheless, there’s a risk that Dodgers followers will see him carry out at an All-Star caliber degree all through the 2024 season.
Additionally, whenever you look strictly at his anticipated metrics on batted balls, Hernández has been top-of-the-line hitters in baseball. His xwOBAcon (anticipated wOBA, however solely on batted balls) has fallen within the 92nd percentile or higher in every of the earlier 4 seasons.
The place Hernández fights
Whereas all of the anticipated metrics and get in touch with high quality numbers are good to see with regards to Hernández, there are nonetheless some tendencies in his sport. Hernandez was a hitter who early in his profession struggled with strikeouts. He had a share of 30.4 % or larger in 4 consecutive seasons from 2017 to 2020. In 2021, it dropped to 24.9 %, in 2023, though it returned to 31.1 %, a quantity within the ninth percentile. His stroll charge additionally adopted a worrisome development as his 5.6 % mark final season was the bottom he had in his profession and fell into the thirteenth percentile.
Hernández 2024 projections
Historically, hitters who wrestle with strikeouts have additionally struggled with pitches and whiffs and that describes Hernandez completely. In 2023, his chase charge final season was 35.4 %, the best it has been in his profession by 4.5 % and his share of shades elevated to 35.8 % hundred, the second highest mark in his profession.
The vast majority of the rationale he took a step again this yr in these areas is due to his new discovered struggles towards 4 seam fastballs. In 2022, his strikeout charge towards them was 27.8 % and his strikeout charge was 24.4 %. Each are greater than respectable numbers and neither trigger concern. In 2023, nevertheless, there have been causes to be involved that these numbers would soar to 34 and 36.4 % respectively. There’s in fact an opportunity that these numbers are an anomaly and can appropriate in 2024. Nevertheless, conventional hitters don’t enhance towards excessive velocity with age.
What’s its 2024 outlook?
If — and it is a large if — Hernández can quell considerations about his regression towards the four-seamer and normal swing-and-miss tendencies, then Hernández will probably have an All-Star-caliber season for the Dodgers . Nevertheless, if these numbers proceed to develop and even stay similar to what he posted in 2023, I fear about his outlook this season. He noticed four-seamers simply 23 % of the time final season, far and away the bottom mark in his profession. If that quantity will get to round 29 %, there's an opportunity his strikeout numbers may very well be fairly ugly this season.