Can Adeiny Hechavarria be a major leaguer?

Brian Kersey

Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria has implemented himself as the team's starting shortstop for the majority of the 2013 season despite repeated struggles at the plate. Will his defensive ability be enough to outweigh those issues?

As I searched through the vast Fish Stripes archive, a sense of amazement went through my mind as I discovered that nobody has done a piece about Adeiny Hechavarria. His -.8 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is definitely not intriguing to the eye simply because it's the worst on a 26-50 Marlins team. His raw offensive numbers combined with defensive metrics makes Hechavarria look abysmal but let's take at his overall approach to see if he's really that awful.

Going into this season, Hechavarria was looked as the prototypical defensive shortstop who would be limited at the plate. That statement has remained true throughout the first half of the 2013 season as you can see from the FanGraphs chart below comparing Hechavarria's wOBA to league average.

Source: FanGraphs -- Adeiny Hechavarria

That above graph basically solidifies Hechavarria's status as an awful offensive player. Despite some few key moments during the season when he has come through in the clutch, Hechavarria appears to be a liability every time he steps to the plate. The one thing that he does have going for him is the solid vision and patience that is a crucial advantage in his continued improvement as a hitter. According to graph below, his strikeout rate has improved immensely since his stint as a Blue Jay (thanks to small sample size) where he's now moved to below the MLB average.

Source: FanGraphs -- Adeiny Hechavarria

That drop in strikeout percentage could be because of Hechavarria's general patience and refusal to swing at pitches outside of the strike zone. Hechavarria's 31.1 percent swing percentage on pitches out of the zone is around league average (30.2 percent), which is solid compared to 37.6 percent from his 2012 campaign in Toronto. He does swing at good pitches and generally makes contact with the ball even though that a good majority of them are routine ground balls that lead to quick and immediate outs for the opposing team.

He just lacks power, and that probably won't change much during his big league career. The problem with that is the fact that Hechavarria is not the quickest player on the team, so it will be tough to see him beat out those routine ground balls to the left side of the infield (i.e third base and shortstop).

Hechavarria's work as a defensive shortstop will most likely be the most crucial factor as his Marlins career continues. As mentioned in this Miami Herald article, he has that ability to turn himself into a potential Gold Glove candidate according to multiple scouts. Where things go wrong for Hechavarria is from deep within the sabermetric community, which shows him as a below-average defensive shortstop compared to a player like Jean Segura of the Milwaukee Brewers. Sabermetrics may put a negative light on his defensive play, but I'm still in the mindset that he's extremely solid based on the multitude of games and clips that I've seen of Hechavarria.

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