clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kiké Hernandez 2018 salary arbitration preview

New, 74 comments
2017 Major League Baseball World Series Game Five: Los Angeles Dodgers v. Houston Astros

Kiké Hernandez started games at seven different positions in 2017, and is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this offseason.

Hernandez playing so many positions — he started 16 games in center field, 16 games at shortstop, 15 games in right field, 12 games in left field, eight games at third base, two games at second base and two games at first base last season — adds an extra hurdle to finding truly comparable players.

There are plenty of players with roughly the same service time as Hernandez, who has three years, 54 days under his belt. But very few can match his versatility. Here is a group of players from the last three offseasons; let’s see how Hernandez stacks up against them.

Hernandez comparable players (career)

Players Years Service PA HR BA/OBP/SLG OPS+ wOBA wRC+ rWAR fWAR Salary
Players Years Service PA HR BA/OBP/SLG OPS+ wOBA wRC+ rWAR fWAR Salary
Kiké Hernandez 2014-17 3.054 938 28 .236/.312/.413 96 0.314 98 4.4 4.3 TBD
Scooter Gennett 2013-16 3.071 1,637 35 .279/.318/.420 99 0.319 97 5.0 4.1 $2,525,000
Chris Owings 2013-16 3.027 1,411 15 .254/.294/.376 78 0.290 74 2.9 1.2 $2,300,000
Lonnie Chisenhall 2011-14 3.027 1,215 36 .260/.310/.417 103 0.319 102 3.9 2.6 $2,250,000
Wilmer Flores 2013-16 3.003 1,220 39 .257/.296/.408 94 0.305 94 0.6 3.5 $2,200,000
Marwin Gonzalez* 2012-15 3.133 1,121 24 .258/.300/.383 89 0.301 90 3.7 1.7 $2,000,000
Freddy Galvis 2012-15 3.021 1,153 20 .241/.282/.352 74 0.277 72 0.4 1.7 $2,000,000
Brett Lawrie 2011-14 3.055 1,431 43 .234/.265/.323 104 0.328 105 12.1 8.2 $1,925,000
Ruben Tejada* 2010-14 3.171 1,778 7 .254/.328/.317 83 0.290 83 4.2 4.1 $1,880,000
Daniel Nava 2010-14 3.045 1,449 23 .273/.362/.398 108 0.339 110 7.9 5.2 $1,850,000
Danny Espinosa 2010-14 3.113 1,959 55 .228/.299/.387 86 0.301 87 5.4 7.3 $1,800,000
Aaron Hicks 2013-16 3.041 1,289 28 .223/.299/.346 77 0.286 76 1.9 0.7 $1,350,000
Scott Van Slyke* 2012-16 3.151 821 27 .249/.331/.424 110 0.331 113 4.3 4.3 $1,325,000
Ezequiel Carrera 2011-16 3.039 980 11 .255/.314/.351 84 0.294 84 0.8 1.6 $1,162,500
Logan Forsythe 2011-14 3.113 1,098 18 .235/.303/.343 85 0.287 84 2.3 1.1 $1,100,000
Eric Sogard 2010-14 3.064 930 7 .235/.296/.317 73 0.275 74 2.8 1.7 $1,075,000
Ryan Flaherty 2012-14 3.000 750 23 .221/.283/.369 79 0.287 78 1.9 1.7 $1,075,000
*Super Two Thanks as always to MLB Trade Rumors, Cot’s Baseball Contracts & Baseball-Reference

Marwin Gonzalez is a jack of all trades himself for the Astros, and he has similar career numbers to Hernandez through three years. Gonzalez earned $2 million in 2016, though that was his second, not first year of arbitration because he was a Super Two the year before, which inflated his number by starting the process a year earlier.

Ruben Tejada seems like a decent comp, with nearly identical career WAR to Hernandez in 840 more plate appearances.. Tejada was also a Super Two, so his $1.88 million in 2015 was a tad inflated.

Then there are Brett Lawrie and Danny Espinosa, with better career bulk numbers and production than Gonzalez. They earned $1.925 million and $1.8 million, respectively in their first arb years, making that sort of an upper limit for Hernandez.

Let’s shift to the launch-year numbers for each of these players.

Hernandez comparable players (single year)

Players Year Service PA HR BA/OBP/SLG OPS+ wOBA wRC+ rWAR fWAR Salary
Players Year Service PA HR BA/OBP/SLG OPS+ wOBA wRC+ rWAR fWAR Salary
Kiké Hernandez 2017 3.054 342 11 .215/.308/.421 91 0.310 92 1.4 1.3 TBD
Scooter Gennett 2016 3.071 542 14 .263/.317/.412 91 0.315 91 0.9 0.1 $2,525,000
Chris Owings 2016 3.027 466 5 .277/.315/.416 88 0.311 86 1.6 0.6 $2,300,000
Lonnie Chisenhall 2014 3.027 533 13 .280/.343/.427 115 0.340 117 1.4 1.8 $2,250,000
Wilmer Flores 2016 3.003 335 16 .267/.316/.469 111 0.336 112 0.2 0.5 $2,200,000
Marwin Gonzalez* 2015 3.133 370 12 .270/.317/.442 109 0.329 111 1.8 1.7 $2,000,000
Freddy Galvis 2015 3.021 603 7 .263/.302/.343 79 0.283 76 0.4 1.3 $2,000,000
Brett Lawrie 2014 3.055 282 12 .247/.301/.421 103 0.320 103 1.7 1.8 $1,925,000
Ruben Tejada* 2014 3.171 419 5 .237/.342/.410 90 0.292 88 1.3 1.3 $1,880,000
Daniel Nava 2014 3.045 408 4 .270/.346/.361 98 0.319 99 3.4 2.6 $1,850,000
Danny Espinosa 2014 3.113 364 8 .219/.283/.351 74 0.280 75 0.0 0.6 $1,800,000
Aaron Hicks 2016 3.041 361 8 .217/.281/.336 65 0.270 64 -0.3 -0.2 $1,350,000
Scott Van Slyke* 2016 3.151 113 1 .225/.292/.314 64 0.267 66 -0.2 -0.2 $1,325,000
Ezequiel Carrera 2016 3.039 310 6 .248/.323/.356 83 0.301 85 0.7 0.7 $1,162,500
Logan Forsythe 2014 3.113 336 6 .223/.287/.329 77 0.278 78 0.8 -0.5 $1,100,000
Eric Sogard 2014 3.064 329 1 .223/.298/.268 64 0.262 68 0.5 0.4 $1,075,000
Ryan Flaherty 2014 3.000 312 7 .221/.288/.356 80 0.287 79 1.0 0.7 $1,075,000
*Super Two Thanks as always to MLB Trade Rumors, Cot’s Baseball Contracts & Baseball-Reference

Tejada again looks like a nearly identical comp here

Old friend Scott Van Slyke has similar career bulk numbers and production to Hernandez, but Hernandez had the much better launch year. Van Slyke earned $1.325 million in 2017 but was also a Super Two the year before. Given Hernandez’s better launch season, that seems like the floor for him.

The guess

MLB Trade Rumors projected a 2018 salary of $1.3 million for Hernandez. Given his similar production to Tejada, I think Hernandez can make a case for somewhere near Tejada’s $1.88 million. Since Tejada was a Super Two let’s discount it a little bit and say $1.65 million for Hernandez.