The Curious Case of Adeiny Hechavarria
Looking to contend in 2015, the Marlins feel like they’re working with a much improved infield. The problem is, the organization’s highest regarded infielder has consistently been the weakest link on the team.
Adeiny Hechavarria (pronounced Etch-a-Va-reeyuh) has a habit of making you forget how empty his bat is, with his nightly web-gems, but have no fear, I’m here to remind you of his tremendous downside.
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It’s hard to argue against Hechavarria’s improvement in 2014, but contrary to what Joe Frisaro might tell you, his offensive leap was a small one. In 2013, “Hech” was worth -1.9 WAR, while slashing a putrid .227/.267/.298. The biggest issue for Hech in 2013 was his inability to get on base, he had a miniscule 5.2% walk rate. That rate actually declined further in 2014 to 4.5% , as a result of him making more contact. His final line in 2014 looked like this: .276/.308/.358.
You might look at that .276 BA and say “Wow, he learned how to hit!” but no, his offensive output was still offensive. He ended up with a 0.6 WAR for the season, arguably a replacement level player. For perspective, Donovan Solano, viewed as one of the biggest problems for the infield in 2014, was a 0.4 win player in 30 fewer games.
The big conundrum with Hechavarria is his glove. The golden glove that the Marlins were smitten with when they had him included in the 2012 mega trade with the Blue Jays. He finished in the top 3 gold glove finalists for 2014, in great thanks to his web gems. He’s a human highlight reel, with great athleticism. The issue is his lack of consistency. Defensive metrics rated Hechavarria as a below average fielder in both 2013 and 2014. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, he’s a flashy shortstop with the tendency to go on defensive cold streaks.
The organization may soon grow impatient with their “future All Star” if Hech continues to show slowed development, because 2014 might be the best we’re going to see from him.
All indications show the Marlins still viewing him as the long-term answer at short, as they are rumored to have offered him a long-term deal. Hopefully those rumors don’t come to fruition, because it’s hard to win when the biggest hole is viewed as a strength.