San Francisco Giants: It’s time to let Gorkys Hernandez go
It is getting ugly for San Francisco Giants backup outfielder Gorkys Hernandez. Since his game-winning, extra-inning double against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Hernandez hasn’t had another highlight.
This season, Gorkys Hernandez is hitting just .160 with an abysmal .240 on-base percentage in 94 at-bats. A journeyman player the San Francisco Giants thought could be a scrappy backup and a plus defender is now turning out to be a disaster.
The numbers when Hernandez is batting leadoff are uglier. He is hitting .138 with a .194 on-base percentage. The leadoff man’s job is to set the table for the middle of the lineup and to get something started.
Other than the pitcher, Hernandez is the least likely Giant to get on base, which is why he is hitting eighth when regular center fielder Denard Span is out.
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eAnd what is worse is Hernandez always seems to come up in key spots.
For example, in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs, he came up with runners on first and third and one out. The Giants were still down 4-1 in the fifth inning and needed a big hit to come through and give the Giants momentum against Jon Lester.
The runner at first, Eduardo Nunez, tried to steal second but was thrown out. With two outs and a runner at third, the Giants could still claim momentum with a two-out hit, but like so many times before, the at-bat was over. Hernandez struck out.
End of threat. End of hope.
San Francisco ranks dead last in the National League in runs scored. When you’re trying to save your season–and it is go-time for the 20-27 Giants–you cannot have an automatic out in your lineup.
Even Hernandez’s defense isn’t a help. According to Baseball Reference, his defensive WAR is -0.7. Hernandez’s offensive WAR is also -0.7.
CBS Sports’ outlook sums it up best:
"(Gorkys Hernandez) is only worth a look in deeper mixed leagues or NL-only formats where players getting everyday at-bats aren’t easily found."
The Giants’ other backup centerfield option, Justin Ruggiano, even has a higher defensive WAR of -0.2. Albeit, Ruggiano is more of a corner outfielder but OK in center.
And Ruggiano also has a prayer of a chance at the plate, with power. He’s hitting .244 with two home runs in 41 at-bats this season.
Hernandez’s total WAR is -1.4, while Ruggiano’s is -0.2.
The only good thing going for Hernandez is that he is 3-for-3 in stolen base opportunities. At least that’s something.
But there’s this:
The good news for some frustrated fans is that the Giants seem to be looking at other options. Utility man Kelby Tomlinson is taking some reps at center field in AAA Sacramento. In his short stint with San Francisco this season, he was hitting .240 in 25 at-bats before being sent down.
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Tomlinson was not lighting the world on fire, but at least he puts up a solid plate appearance and has had some clutch moments.
If Tomlinson proves serviceable in center, that could mean big trouble for Hernandez. The two could be trading places soon.
Next: Can Chris Shaw be the answer in left?
No power, automatic out, defensive liability (statistically speaking). Hernandez is already 29 years old and not likely to get better. So, why is Gorkys on the team? Well, only General Manager Bobby Evans could answer that.