Is it finally Teo time?
The career numbers in June are awfully strong, but can Teoscar Hernández finally catch fire for Seattle?
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For the second straight offseason the Mariners acquired one of the best bats in the league, and for the second straight season he has struggled mightily. The Mariners need Teoscar Hernández to become himself again and his career numbers in June should give us hope.
The Spring in Seattle can be unforgiving for a right handed hitter at T-Mobile Park. Hitters must deal with the inversion created by the icy waters of the Pacific Ocean, know as the marine layer.
As the weather begins to warm the air tends to be more forgiving to fly balls, a great sign for several current Mariners struggling with power outage. Although this is his first season in Seattle, Teoscar Hernández has traditionally heated up with the weather.
The power hitting right fielder owns a career 130 WRC+ in June, which feels significant considering his numbers in April and May. According to Fangraphs, Hernández owns just an 83 WRC+ in May and a 103 in April during the course of his career. These are the worst months of his career, signaling that improvement is on the horizon for the slugger.
Out of the gate it has been a struggle to consistently make contact for the Dominican born outfielder. He has struck out at a 33.2 percent clip through 60 games, which would be a career high for a full season.
Combine this with a walk rate of just 3.6 percent and you get a player who certainly doesn’t “Control the Zone.” The importance of this philosophy has been consistently shared by Mariners player development for years, especially President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto.
Even in his best year Hernández isn’t a high on base player who you can count on to put the ball in play a ton, but he does damage. Despite his struggles the 30 year old is still at a 97 WRC+ as we sit on June 7, a mark that is almost perfectly on pace with his career monthly numbers.
Through four games in June so far he is hitting .467 with a triple and a home run. The round tripper came last night against the Padres, a solid smash to the deep part of the ballpark against reliever Brent Honeywell.
In his postgame interview Hernández said he was sitting changeup from Honeywell, and got one at the very bottom of the zone. This swing was impressive as hell and a great sign for the Mariners, a club that desperately needs offense.
The slugger owns a .600 average in 10 at bats against today’s starter Michael Wacha.
It is easy to think Teoscar Hernández would become the next Jesse Winker, another failed bat with a track record of success. But the track record is too good here, and everything we know suggests a breakout is coming.
June is finally Teo time, and time for the Mariners offense to start clicking.