Adeiny Hechavarria has never been, nor will he ever be, an elite hitter. Primarily known as an above-average fielder with a taste for making the highlight reels, Hechavarria has received a lot of patience from the Marlins in regards to offensive production.
The time is now rapidly approaching when that patience should run out.
A lot of the leniency with Hechavarria resulted from encouraging signs of improvement at the plate; between 2013 and 2015 he improved his batting average from .227 to .281, and his on-base percentage from .267 to .315. While those figures, especially the on-base percentage, were not spectacular, they were trending in the right direction.
However, things nose-dived for the Cuban last year as he posted near rookie-season numbers with the bat and, despite an encouraging Spring Training, things have continued to spiral downwards in terms of production. After 29 at bats, Adeiny Hechavarria has collected only five hits, good for a .172 batting average.
While ZiPS only projected 0.1 WAR from Hechavarria this season, the shortstop is currently sitting at -0.3 WAR. With this information, coupled with the fact that Miguel Rojas has started the season well, the Marlins should re-think who should be their everyday shortstop.
Rojas, a utility infielder, has hit .268 over 41 at bats with an on-base percentage of .340 thus far, mainly while covering for both Hechavarria and Martin Prado while they were out with injuries earlier in the season. Rojas is at 0.2 WAR on the season, which is half of a game up on Hechavarria.
That half a game could make all the difference down the stretch, which is why Rojas should, at this point, be starting at shortstop for Miami. The Hechavarria experiment is not paying off, and after four and a bit seasons, it probably never will.
In a season which will be defined by the smallest margins for error in order to seriously contend for a playoff spot, the Marlins need to have the best possible team out there, and they are currently better without Hechavarria in the starting lineup every night.
One year ago, one of the biggest problems for the Marlins was getting on base and plating runs. Hechavarria is struggling to do either of those things right now, whereas Rojas has come up with key hits on a few occasions already in 2017.
Miami has started the season better than many expected. Yet, the team has room to improve, and one way is to take Adeiny Hechavarria out of the lineup and give Miguel Rojas more opportunities to show what he can do as an everyday player.