If there is baseball victimhood, then step right up Marco Hernandez. An opportunity has been lost or delayed via injury.
I like Marco Hernandez and one measure of that is he is a successful Player to be Named Later (PTBNL). Hernandez joining the Boston Organization was the result of a transaction that sent left-hander Felix Doubront to the Chicago Cubs where Hernandez had toiled in relative obscurity but could hit.
Hernandez – then just 22-years-old – joined the organization for the 2015 season and became somewhat of a surprise hitting .305 between Portland (AA) and Pawtucket (AAA). Hernandez could hit and that earned him 40 games n Boston during the 2016 season and Hernandez responded with a solid .294 average. The left-handed hitting infielder also hit .305 for the PawSox in 57 games.
The start of 2017 was quite promising for Hernandez who sauntered around the infield with 21 games divvied up among third, short, and second. Hernandez also showed the bat was still alive by hitting .276. Then it happened. An injury and shoulder surgery. Done until spring training and a potential lost opportunity for a regular position when the Red Sox cut the Pablo Sandoval cord in mid-July. By then Hernandez was recuperating and Raphael Devers would become the regular third sacker.
How the baseball Gods can conspire. This past spring Hernandez’s shoulder gave out and some more surgical tweaking would take place. Another trip to the 60-day disabled list and another opportunity was blown away. A potential solid option for second base until Dustin Pedroia returned or a reserve infield role.
Would Hernandez have replaced Brock Holt? Would Hernandez have made Tzu-Wei Lin’s 2017 and 2018 visits to the 25-man roster unlikely? The injury to Hernandez had significant influences on both Holt and Lin and that appears so. And then there is the influence on Hernandez whose career may even be in jeopardy.
As a gloveman, Hernandez is just about average. The sample is small but the UZR is either null or just a bit in the negative range at second, third, and short. But Hernandez can hit. A line drive machine who could be close to a .300 hitter with some respectable gap power. Now Hernandez may be hanging on to his baseball career hoping that the twice repaired shoulder is sufficiently stable.
When Hernandez is cleared to play his roster spot could be vulnerable. Eduardo Nunez is signed and well proven. Holt can play the outfield and so can Lin. So, Hernandez will get his games in rehab and probably remain in the minors since he has options. Long range – meaning 2019 – it appears Hernandez may be an eventual roster casualty.