Getting To Know New Seattle Mariners – Teoscar Hernandez

Spring Training for the 2023 MLB season officially got underway this past weekend with the Seattle Mariners, and pitcher Robbie Ray sealed in history for the first strike called on a player for not being ready to hit according to the pitch clock. Ray was ready to pitch. Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres was not ready to hit. Strike one. But, given the length of the major league season, with all its ebbs and flows, ups and downs, this historic moment will likely be forgotten by mid-March. What won’t be forgotten for Mariners fans will be the journey of getting to know the personality of this 2023 team, which will feature quite a few new faces. Let us begin the journey of discovery by taking a look at new Seattle Mariners outfielder Teoscar Hernandez. 

Hernandez was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays during the offseason in exchange for major league relief pitcher Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko. As part of Hernandez’s first official interactions with the Mariners, he was defeated in arbitration and will earn $14 million in 2023. Hernandez was asking for $16 M, but the arbiter decided on the club offer of $14 M. Absurd numbers like this will likely make the average fan roll their eyes. Hernandez will be a free agent in 2024 and is expected to be just a one-year rental for the Mariners. He will probably platoon in right field with Jared Kelenic and rotate through the DH position with several other players. More than likely, much of the Mariners’ outfield will be juggled around, except for Julio Rodriguez in center. 

The thirty-year-old Hernandez has a career slash line of .262/.319/.499. He has rarely played full seasons for platoon reasons or injuries but projects a 162-game average of obviously the same slash line with 33 HR and 33 doubles for a potential 88 runs and 95 RBI. In other words, Teoscar has a little bit of pop in his bat. He and Jarred Kelenic combined should be an upgrade over the often-injured and obviously diminished Mitch Haniger, now of the San Francisco Giants. 

ZiPS projects Hernandez playing 142 games with the M’s in 2023 and hitting .253/.308/.482, 29 HR, and 10 SB while producing 2.5 WAR. STEAMER’S projections are very similar, with 143 games played, a .249/.303/.452 slash, with 28 HR, 9 SB, and 2.1 WAR. STEAMER is slightly less bullish than ZiPS at the plate and more bearish on Hernandez in the field. 

While Hernandez should not, in any way, give Mariners fans flashbacks to the defensive nightmare that was Jesse Winker (albeit primarily in the opposite field), he is a slightly below-average defensive outfielder with -2 defensive runs saved (DRS) last season and -25 outfield DRS over his career. UZR evaluates Hernandez’s glove a little worse with -4.3 and projected out using UZR/150 of -6.3. Though not awesome, it is actually an “upgrade” over 2022, especially with the option to bring in (or move over) Kelenic in late innings for defense in games Hernandez starts. 

Teoscar Hernandez should be a bright point in a promising new season for the Mariners and could definitely contribute to a run at two-in-a-row playoff appearances. And, at least for now, he hasn’t gotten any strike calls for not being ready to hit on time. 

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About Brian Hight 107 Articles
Brian Hight lives in Seattle and writes primarily about MLB and the local Seattle Mariners, with a focus on advanced analytics. Occasionally, he delves into the NFL and the NBA, also with an emphasis on advanced statistics. He’s currently pursuing a Certificate in Data Analysis online from Microsoft, where he hopes to create a prediction model for baseball outcomes for his capstone project.