Mariners Report Cards: Right Field
Teoscar Hernández has been the subject of discussion already this offseason, and will be until the Qualifying Offer is sorted out. Let's take a look back at the right fielder's 2023 season.
Teoscar Hernández was the prized addition of last offseason, a deal that Seattle jumped the market early to make. The 30-year-old outfielder will be the subject of discussion again early this offseason, as the Mariners must decide whether or not to extend the approximately 20 million dollar qualifying offer to him.
The expectation is that Seattle will make the offer to gain a draft pick when he inevitably turns down the offer to test the open market. Although I would certainly take him back on the QO, I don’t think Seattle should look at him on the open market.
Let’s grade Teoscar Hernández’s 2023 campaign here as our report card series continues.
Ultimately there aren’t as many positives as you would like to see from a player that has legitimate All Star potential every season. He did stay extremely healthy and was able to play in 160 games for the Mariners. This alone was a big upgrade over Mitch Haniger who was notorious for spending time on the injured list (we still love you Mitch).
Many of Hernández’s traditional numbers were there. He hit 26 home runs which was the second most he had hit in a season, while also finishing with the second highest RBI total of his career. His slash line of .258/.305/.435 is somewhat similar to his career numbers, just with a slightly lower slugging percentage.
Hernández ultimately produced a 105 wRC+ and carried the team along with Julio Rodríguez for much of the second half, specifically posting a 191 wRC+ in August. The club’s decision not to trade him at the deadline ended up being one of the main reasons they were able to be in contention at the end, even though he struggled horrifically in September.
The 30 year old right fielder also produced the best defensive year of his career. He posted a 61st percentile OAA, 47 percent higher than 2022. This was the best defensive year of his career, although still not stellar.
Overall he posted 1.8 fWAR which wasn’t what the Mariners were expecting, but it was still certainly a positive.
Hernández underperformed, plain and simple. His 105 wRC+, while above league average, was much worse than the above 130 he posted the last three seasons.
Seattle needed him to be a big bat, and he was not that despite the 26 home run season. He was expected to be protection in the lineup for their 22 year old superstar, and he was simply not able to do it consistently enough.
Most of my concern with Hernández’s season was the 200 strikeouts he posted, one of three Mariners to clear that benchmark. A 31 percent strikeout rate with a below six percent walk rate isn’t a good thing, especially for a team that preaches controlling the zone. There was entirely too much chase in his game this season, and is one reason why I think Seattle would be much better off going after a left handed contact bat and letting Hernández go if he declines the QO.
While 2023 was the best defensive year of his career, the 30 year old outfielder is still a below average defender in my opinion.
Overall, there were plenty of negatives and I fully expect him to have a productive year in 2024, but I don’t expect it to be in Seattle.
Video analysis and full grade located below!