Blue Jays: Don’t expect Hernandez to be an immediate star

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Teoscar Hernandez
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 19: Teoscar Hernandez /

Now that rosters have expanded, the Blue Jays will get an extended look at a few youngsters who have been called up for the season’s final month, including Teoscar Hernandez.

The Blue Jays are going to see some changes in their regular lineup in 2018, and one of the expected faces made his debut in Toronto earlier this week. Teoscar Hernandez was called up as the rosters expanded for September, and Blue Jays’ fans are getting their first look at one of their latest acquisitions.

The team is expected to give their core another run at contention in 2018, save for a few changes that are inevitable. One of those changes will likely come in the form of a departure from Jose Bautista, the longest tenured player on the roster. Many fans are expecting Teoscar Hernandez to take over in right field for Jose Bautista, and it’s entirely possible that’s how it could play out.

That said, Blue Jays fans will need to keep their expectations in check for the 24 year old outfielder. There are plenty of reasons to be excited about another talented youngster in the system, but there are no guarantees for how things will go, especially as soon as next year.

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Listening to “Blue Jays Talk” with Mike Wilner this week, several fans called in to ask about Hernandez’s potential, and it’s obvious people have high expectations of him. Wilner made several very valid points though, with the most significant being “The Houston Astros are not stupid”. Of course, he’s referring to the fact that the Blue Jays acquired Hernandez in exchange for Francisco Liriano, with the Jays also taking on Nori Aoki‘s salary.

Liriano is useful to be sure, but the Astros acquired him to be a bullpen left-hander. Pitching is always an expensive thing to acquire, but it rarely takes a future All-Star calibre type to bring in an extra bullpen arm for the stretch run. Chances are they did their due diligence in looking at several options for their bullpen, and ultimately settled on the Liriano deal as the one that made the most sense.

For that reason, we should all temper our expectations for Hernandez. Don’t get me wrong, he’s shown great promise in AAA, and I do believe the Blue Jays got the far better end of the deal, but it’s hard to say where his ceiling might be. If he was going to be a future MVP contender or something, surely the Astros would have moved other assets to strengthen their pen. They do have a glut of talent in their outfield, which is why they deemed Hernandez expendable.

It also may be unfair to expect him to fill a spot in the outfield on a potential contender. With this group set to hopefully compete again in 2018, the front office may elect to bring in some extra depth in the outfield to compete for a starting job. For as rough as this season has been for Bautista, he’s been a big part of the team’s past successes, and they’ll need to get more out of right field in order to contend and it may not be realistic to expect an upgrade from a rookie.

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That said, he’ll get an extended look down the stretch (he’s starting today), and will get a chance to impress the Blue Jays’ brass in advance of next season. He may very well earn a spot in the everyday lineup in 2018, but as a fan base we should remember that rookies generally require a little time and patience, and we should be prepared to give him just that.