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San Francisco Giants: Who Should Win the Willie Mac Award?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 24: Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two run walk off double against the San Diego Padres during the eleventh inning at AT&T Park on June 24, 2018 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the San Diego Padres 3-2 in 11 innings. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 24: Hunter Pence #8 of the San Francisco Giants is congratulated by teammates after hitting a two run walk off double against the San Diego Padres during the eleventh inning at AT&T Park on June 24, 2018 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco Giants defeated the San Diego Padres 3-2 in 11 innings. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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San Francisco Giants
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – AUGUST 28: Gorkys Hernandez #7 of the San Francisco Giants is congratulated by teammates after he hit a single that scored the game-winning run in the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park on August 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Gorkys Hernandez

Gorkys had zero home runs in 2017. In a year Giants fans want to forget, Hernandez had a fairly forgettable 2017 as well. His production was better in the second half, but overall, he finished with disappointing numbers.

Heading into the week, Hernandez has 15 home runs on the season which has him tied for the team lead with Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen.

Longoria and McCutchen were brought in to be middle of the order hitters. Hernandez was doubtful to even make the team.

It truly is remarkable to see what Hernandez has been able to do when he has never really been given an everyday job. Much like Andres Torres and Gregor Blanco before him, Hernandez joined the Giants as a non roster invitee and had to earn his way onto the major league roster the hard way.

His numbers can be deceiving. Last year, Hernandez slashed .255/.377/.326 for an OPS of .652. This year, he has only slightly improved to .240/.290/.402 for an OPS of .692. While his OPS is still below .700, his WAR jumped from -0.6 last year to 0.6 this year.

By most metrics, Hernandez has not improved that much from last season to this year. However, his home runs and his defense have been a big reason why fans are much more excited to see Gorkys name in the lineup card each day.

What makes all of this more impressive is he has never really been named a starter.

Despite never really having an every day job, Hernandez and his added power was something special in 2018. It was also something special historically. It had been more than 30 years since a player had hit 15 home runs after hitting none the year before.

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