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2020 Dodgers in review: Kiké Hernández

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Great defense, versatility, and an October moment for Kiké this season

League Championship - Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Seven Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

It was more of the same in 2020 for Kiké Hernández, who provided excellent defense and played all over the diamond, and provided a highlight moment for the Dodgers in October.

Offensively it was a rough year for Hernández, who homered and had four hits on Opening Day, driving in five runs. It took two more weeks until his next extra-base hit, nearly four weeks until his next home run, and a full month to equal that RBI total.

Hernández hit .230/.270/.410, an 83 wRC+, but still proved valuable defensively, especially at second base. He led major league second basemen with eight Defensive Runs Saved, and had one more DRS in left field. Hernández won a Fielding Bible award for the best multi-position defender.

He finished fourth in the all-statistical Gold Glove Award accounting at second base, thanks mostly to only starting 22 games at the position.

Defensive versatility has been the calling card for Hernández throughout his six years with the Dodgers. He started at five defensive positions in 2020, his fewest in any major league season. He’s probably the most versatile player in Dodgers history, starting double-digit games at seven different positions.

Kiké’s defensive starts with the Dodgers

Year 1B 2B 3B SS LF CF RF Total
Year 1B 2B 3B SS LF CF RF Total
2015 15 1 11 5 18 1 51
2016 5 1 1 22 16 1 46
2017 2 2 8 16 12 16 15 71
2018 7 22 2 17 5 44 7 104
2019 2 63 1 6 5 16 7 100
2020 22 2 3 2 3 32
Totals 11 129 13 53 52 112 34 404
source: Baseball-Reference

Despite the offensive struggles during the regular season, Hernández’s bat relatively awakened in the postseason, hitting .214/.290/.464, an above-average 104 wRC+.

He only started five games in October, but played in 17 of the Dodgers’ 18 games, and still made an impact. He homered twice in the NLCS, but more on that in a moment.

Now that Hernández is a free agent, his return is uncertain. But if his time with the Dodgers is over, the six years were certainly memorable. He was a huge part of six division winners, three pennant winners, and one championship team. Watching any of the postgame celebration after Game 6 of the World Series this year, the emotion was most evident on Hernández’s face throughout.

2020 World Series Game 6: Los Angeles Dodgers v. Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

2020 particulars

Age: 28

Stats: .230/.270/.410, 5 HR, 83 wRC+, 9 Defensive Runs Saved, 0.9 WAR

Salary: $5.9 million

Game of the year

Down a run in the sixth inning of Game 7 of the NLCS, Hernández pinch hit against lefty A.J. Minter, who mowed down the Dodgers with seven strikeouts over three innings just two days earlier. An eight-pitch at-bat culminated in Hernández hitting a ball off the base of the second deck in left field. It was Hernández’s eighth career postseason home run, and the 10th pinch-hit home run in Dodgers postseason history.

Hernández tied the game, Cody Bellinger gave the Dodgers the lead in the next inning, and the rest, as they say, was history.

Roster status

With six years, 54 days of major league service time, Hernández is now a free agent.