2020 Dodgers Player Projections: Kiké Hernandez
If Kiké Hernández could face Madison Bumgarner every game, it’d be nearly impossible to argue against making him an everyday player.
In his career Kiké has absolutely destroyed MadBum, hitting .500 (25-50)/.519/.860 with six doubles, four home runs and nine RBIs. The good news for Kiké and the Dodgers is, while Bumgarner left San Francisco in free agency in November, he remains in the National League West after signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the offseason.
Putting those ridiculous numbers aside, Hernandez, 28, has been a life-saver for the Dodgers since coming over from the Marlins in 2015. He can hit the ball out of the yard, he’s undeniably clutch, fans (especially ladies) adore him and he can play well anywhere on the field. However, this year, finding playing time will be a little bit of a challenge for him.
A stacked outfield with everyday players like Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts, and a log-jam in left field with Joc Pederson, A.J. Pollock, Chris Taylor and Matt Beaty, Kiké will be fighting for time out there.
In 2019, Hernandez played the majority of his games at second base (78). This season, that's unlikely to be the case, as Gavin Lux is expect to be the regular second baseman.
Despite the lack of playing time, it actually might benefit Kiké more than you think. I’ll explain below.
130 games, 460 PA, 414 AB 57 R, 98 H, 19 2B, 17 HR, 64 RBIs, .237/.304/.411, 1.4 WAR.
642 G, 1860 PA, 1652, 232 R, 398 H, 86 2B,11 3B, 66 HR, 207 RBIs, .241/.316/.426, 8.9 WAR.
Baseball Reference projects Kiké’s 2020 season this way:
476 PA, 421 AB, 64 R, 102 H, 45 BB, 22 2B, 19 HR, 60 RBI, .242/.319/.439.
Steamer doesn’t think 2020 will be so fruitful for Mr. Hernández, projecting the following:
253 PA, 223 AB, 31 R, 55 H, 25 BB, 10 HR, 12 2B, 33 RBI, .246/.324/.444.
My projections are more generous than Steamer’s:
355 AB, 56 R, 90 H, 26 BB, 20 2B, 20 HR, 61 RBIs, .253/.310/.496.
Comment: With all the positions Hernandez plays, Justin Turner getting older and the uncertainty surrounding Corey Seager’s health, I think he will definitely get more playing time than Steamer suggests. He’s played in well over 100 games in every season since 2016 and will probably hit that mark again in 2020. He just won’t start as many games as he’s been accustomed to.
The stats show he is a better hitter coming off the bench either as a late defensive sub or a pinch hitter. In his 30 games off the pine last season, he hit .333/.370/.619 with 4 HR and 16 RBI. He was also clutch late in games driving in the most runs (27) and hitting 6 of his 17 home runs in innings 7-9.
I am not saying that Kiké isn’t a good starter. He plays well when he gets his shot, but not every major leaguer can be as productive as he is playing part-time at any spot on the field.
Jake Reiner is a native-Angeleno and is currently a sports and news reporter for KCBS/KCAL, Channels 2&9, where he has covered the Dodgers, Lakers, Chargers, and most recently traveled with the Rams for the entire season as the beat reporter for KCBS.