No, It’s Not Time to “Sell High” on César Hernández


Hey, Phillies fan. Remember when Cesar Hernandez was terrrrribbbbllle six weeks ago and everybody wanted his head?

Of course you do.

Just kick it back to April 13 after his 0 for 4 night in an ugly 10-3 loss to the Marlins. He looked totally lost. In fact, he actually looked borderline unplayable, and after a disappointing 2018 season which was hampered by a nagging foot injury, he was standing out for all of the wrong reasons in the Phillies’ potent new-look lineup. It was tough to watch but easy to hate with Hernandez slashing only .178/.240/.244 and doing stuff like this far too often:

Some preached patience but others called for measures ranging anywhere between a simple benching to Hernandez being designated for assignment, which, by the way, is definitely the most sound and logical solution whenever a veteran player goes through an underwhelming two-week stretch. Also, please pause to feel my condescending sarcasm as it flows forth, for it is heavy this morning.

As it turns out, and I know this is going to come as a stunner, seasons shouldn’t be judged on a guy’s first 50 plate appearances.

Hernandez’s numbers since April 13 have been absurd. In 160 plate appearances, he’s hitting .347 with a .406 on-base percentage and a .955 OPS. He went from producing an extra-base hit in one out of every 25 plate appearances to producing one in every 8.89 plate appearances. Not only that, he’s done it at a critical time as the Phillies have dealt with multiple prolonged slumps and Scott Kingery’s near month-long absence. There’s no way the Phillies would be 23-16 since April 13 without his resurgence, one that also should make him very much a part of the conversation for a National League All-Star bid.

Don’t believe me? Check his numbers and where they rank among all National League second baseman:

CategoryHernandezN.L. Rank

Raise your hand if you had Cesar Hernandez with a markedly higher OBP and SLG% than Bryce Harper after 52 games.

As you can see, Hernandez is at or near the top of several of these key statistical categories. And go ahead, roll your eyes. I see you looking at wRC+, thinking “Nerd.”  That’s fine, but it’s a good stat and one that matters. In its simplest terms, wRC+ is a metric that measures a player’s ability to create runs against the league average while accounting for park factors, a good indicator of that player’s overall value, since, you know, creating runs is the batter’s primary objective when he steps to the plate.

And yet, I can’t tell you how many people I read on Twitter that want to “sell high” on him right now. I’ll say this. I struggle with Twitter because sometimes I feel like it’s a good representation of where the average fan is at on a player or issue, but then other times, I’m not so sure, like maybe it’s only capturing a small part of the population. I get the sense with Hernandez, however, that people don’t quite appreciate what he is, and I’m not the only one:

Read through the replies there.

Kingery’s hot start over a limited sample probably has something to do with the aggressive willingness of some to make a deal or “sell high” but with the consistently inconsistent play of Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera combining with what is a razor-thin bench, the idea of doing so seems irresponsible. It would be doing a deal for the sake of doing a deal.

And I get that he might not stay this hot, but here’s the thing. He doesn’t need to. It gets overlooked, but he’s a .278 hitter with a .357 OBP in over nearly 2500 career ABs. Production similar to that would be just fine. And what’s the end game? At this point, he isn’t a luxury or a productive spare part, he’s been key in leading the Phillies to first-place at 10 games over .500 here in late May. Unless any of these theoretical “sell high” deals will return a stabilizing front-end of the rotation starting pitcher, which they will not, the Phillies are in no position to subtract the offensive value of a borderline All-Star second baseman from the lineup.

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17 Responses

    1. 0 – 3 today for the 330 million dollar thief aka Bryce with 3 strikeouts, bringing batting average down to a whopping .227, but Caesar Hernandez is the problem.

  1. The minorities really show up in droves for these amusement parks…. they need to increase ticket prices.

  2. One need only look a the stuff that trends daily on twitter to know that twitter isn’t representative of anything as a whole.

  3. Adam Gase crapped the bed in Miami and now he’s running the Jets organization. That’s like giving Cuz & his girlfriend a morning show in a top 5 market.

  4. Harper is having the same year Carlos Santana had last year. Pick up the pace, Bryce.

  5. The Cuz is dominating the prime time lunch hour!!! We all listen to the Cuz! We all love the Cuz so much!!!!

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