The Toronto Blue Jays inactivity in addressing their outfield needs this offseason has reinforced their faith in Teoscar Hernandez as an everyday MLB player.
It appears that Teoscar Hernandez will assume the lions share of the work in right field when the Blue Jays head north at the conclusion of Grapefruit League action play. Hernandez is batting 6th while manning right field today during the team’s split-squad contest with the Yankees this afternoon.
The 27-year old struggled during the first half of the 2019 campaign prompting a demotion to Buffalo. However, Hernandez salvaged his season with a strong second half after being recalled from Triple-A. The outfielder finished the season with a .230/.306/.472 slash line coupled with 26 homers and 156 strikeouts in 125 games.
Last season, Hernandez split time between left and centre field for skipper Charlie Montoyo. Surprisingly, he only made three errors and none while in centre although I specifically recall some terrible routes to balls.
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It was thought the Blue Jays brain trust would add an outfielder this offseason but a deal was never consummated. The team appeared content coming into spring training with Hernandez penciled in as the right fielder with Derek Fisher, Anthony Alford and Billy McKinney vying for a bench role.
Hernandez could also be utilized as the designated hitter if Rowdy Tellez does not make the team. Tellez does not afford much positional flexibility with Travis Shaw expected to be the starter at first base.
There is no questioning the power potential that Hernandez possesses but consistent contact seems to be his Achilles Heel. The outfielder will need to find a way to cut down on the strikeout totals if he plans on being an everyday player. Over the course of his MLB career, he has whiffed 380 times in 327 games.
The Blue Jays undoubtedly believe in his talent and are going to provide him with an opportunity to succeed. Hopefully, Hernandez can make good on the opportunity and evolve into a solid defensive, power-hitting corner outfielder.