Miami Marlins: Adeiny Hechavarria Maturing as a Player


If you were to compile a Rich Waltz highlight reel, you’d find calls of walk-offs, Stanton homers, and a bunch of spectacular plays made by shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Perhaps the most expressive the Marlins play-by-play broadcaster gets comes when he rolls his tongue and says “Hechavarrrrrrrrriaaaaaaaa.”

You’ve heard this phrase used significantly more in this current year than in 2014, and it doesn’t relate to Waltz’s broadcasting patterns.

Without a doubt, Adeiny Hechavarria has improved since last year. However, if you look at many of his statistics, it seems as if not much has changed. These stats are coming into play yesterday.

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Hechavarria’s batting average and on-base percentage display minuscule improvement over the last year. His walk rate essentially stays the same, while his strikeout rate rises. And Hech’s BABIP shows little difference from the prior season.

Continuing to look at the offensive stats for Hechavarria, power numbers have increased thus far. In 2014, Hech posted just one home run and 34 RBI in 149 games played. Just this season, Miami’s shortstop has knocked four homers and has driven in 37. In addition, his isolated power has grown from .080 last year to .095 just this season.

The above stats reveal Hechevarria’s production improvement since last season, but what impresses the me most is how well-rounded Hech has become. Per Fangraphs, Adeiny Hechavarria possesses a WAR of 2.2, a full two points higher than his 0.2 WAR from last season. This upgrade in WAR can be credited to not only his defensive efficiency, but also his consistency on offense. Fangraphs’ UZR tool tells us that Adeiny Hechavarria stands 13.2 runs better than his counterparts at the shortstop position on defense, as opposed to being 2.2 runs worse than his competition in 2014. On offense, Hech places 4.7 runs worse than his competitors around the league (not specific to shortstops), which is a significant improvement over his 13.1 runs worse last year.

Jul 19, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Miami Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (3) gets the force out on Philadelphia Phillies second baseman

Cesar Hernandez

(16) and throws to first base to complete double play during the fifth inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Marlins, 8-7. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

But the number that stands out to me is Adeiny Hechavarria’s base running UZR, which claims that Hech places one run above his competition in 2015 following a year of being 1.3 runs behind his fellow leaguemates. Why does this stand out to me? Because it shows his maturity, something not all 26-year olds show in the current MLB. The counter-argument would state that Hechavarria’s base running UZR may be heavily influenced by his stolen base total. However, Hech is on pace to only succeed his mark of seven last year by just one steal, as he currently has stolen five bags.

This number would suggest that one, Hechavarria gained a sizable amount of speed in which he hasn’t used this year, or two, his baseball IQ has gone up. I’d like to think the latter possibility. As a young ballplayer ages, his knowledge of the game tends to improve. Not only does this show in his base running UZR, but also in his demeanor. Hech looks way more confident as a fielder, and at the plate for that matter.

Why could this be?

Chances are, the addition of speedy middle infielder Dee Gordon from Los Angeles helped out. No stats are needed to reveal how much better of a player Gordon is over 2014’s second baseman, Donovan Solano. Whatever the case is, Adeiny Hechavarria is a keeper, and one Marlins fans should enjoy watching play in the field. Enough to the point where you may be tempted to yell “Hechavarrrrrrrrriaaaa!”

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