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Kike Hernandez's versatility may lead to starting job

When the Marlins acquired Enrique Hernandez, their intention was to address the need for a utility man off the bench. While Hernandez has limited major league experience, his versatility may earn him a starting job in 2015.

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Miami ensured Enrique Hernandez was part of the Jared Cosart trade with the Astros before the trading deadline in order to add a utility man off the bench. However, heading into the offseason, Hernandez's versatility may win him a starting job come 2015.

Hernandez has spent most of his season in Triple-A, where he posted a .337 batting average with Houston's affiliate and a .250/.345/.403 line in 21 games with New Orleans. In 37 total major league games, Hernandez is batting .257/.333/.400 with two home runs and 12 RBIs. The Marlins wanted Hernandez to get as much consistent playing time as possible, and promoted him after Marcell Ozuna went down with an ankle injury.

Craig Davis of the Sun-Sentinel noted Hernandez's ability to play almost every position makes him appealing to Manager Mike Redmond.

In addition to hitting .337 at Oklahoma City, the Astros' top farm team, he opened eyes by playing every position but pitcher and catcher. That versatility makes him an intriguing player to the Marlins.

"He's made some great plays in the outfield. For a guy whose main position was as an infielder, he's made an easy transition to the outfield," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "He's definitely one of those guys that has a lot of value in the fact that he can play a ton of different positions."

While he is still young and is developing both offensively and defensively, Hernandez's flexibility may lead to him earning a starting job next season. Hernandez has the speed necessary to bat at the top of a lineup, and should his bat develop in a timely manner, he could be a leadoff option. If Hernandez is slotted into the leadoff spot, Christian Yelich can bat second, where several major league scouts see him playing for most of his baseball career.

Miami does not have a clear solution at second base, and Hernandez may be able to provide stability. Derek Dietrich has had difficulties defensively, and Donovan Solano and Ed Lucas have struggled offensively at times.

The Marlins have been rumored to want to move on from Garrett Jones at first base, and one possible option the Marlins would have is bringing Yelich into the infield. Such a move could allow the Marlins to put Hernandez in left field, where his offensive production likely wouldn't need to be as significant.

Houston would have been prepared to make Hernandez its starting second baseman, however Jose Altuve's success resulted in the Astros making Hernandez a utility-type player.

Ultimately, his bat will determine the role he carves for himself. Hernandez hit well at every level of the minors, and made an immediate splash with the Astros, going 2-for-2 in his first game and hitting his first home run in his second. He has one so far with the Marlins.

Hernandez has received valuable playing time, regardless of the position he has played, over the last few days. If he continues to prove he belongs starting on a major league club, the Marlins may have one less thing to think about this offseason.