San Francisco Giants Center Field Expectations Going into Regular Season
During the 2016 season, when Gorkys Hernandez first joined the Giants, he looked like a potentially decent bargain-bin buy. In that season, he had just 57 plate appearances but posted a quality .761 OPS with solid defense.
He basically looked like a nice successor to Gregor Blanco, who would then depart over the offseason.
Last season, he was underwhelming, to say the least. He displayed marginal on-base skills and no power at all (no home runs versus two in his abbreviated 2016), leading to a .652 OPS.
He also went from an average to slightly above average defender in the outfield to a below replacement level one in 2017 – not the best look for a player entering his thirties.
By now, a breakout probably is not in the cards for Gorkys, and at this point in his career, he probably is what he is. I think if he gets over 300 plate appearances, like he did last season, the Giants are probably in some trouble, just like they were last season.
He may also be redundant with the addition of Austin Jackson, who is by all accounts a much more talented and proven candidate to be the right-handed center fielder on the team.
Despite these factors going against him, Gorkys is out of options, so the Giants may give him a shot to stay on the roster based on his decent spring (.278 batting average and .810 OPS). Even still, his offensive spring numbers aren’t at the level of the other center fielders.
Prediction: If the Giants decide to go with a veteran as Austin Jackson’s center field counter piece, Hernandez will have to beat out Blanco to make the roster, which may be tough given the way his bat profiles as a complement.
Chances of Making Roster: 25%