The Boston Red Sox will be without second baseman Dustin Pedroia to start the 2018 season. His fill-in could be a few people. It should be Marco Hernandez.
The Boston Red Sox are stuck with the unenviable task of finding a Dustin Pedroia replacement to start 2018. While Pedroia hopefully won’t be out too long, they’ll still want a common name trotting out to second every night. There’s nothing wrong with some consistency.
With this in mind, there are four strong candidates for this role, but it’s easy to start whittling them down.
I’m going to start with the easy player to eliminate from contention. Brock Holt has been incredibly valuable to the Boston Red Sox over the years. As anyone who’s followed me over the years knows, I think he’s one of the more important players on the team. I also think the majority of his value comes from his utility status.
Locking Holt down to one position takes away a major part of his value. Keeping him as the revolving door that can play any position when needed is the right move.
Next is Tzu-Wei Lin. A breakout year in the minors lead to Lin getting an unexpected shot in the Majors last season. He did well with it, and his career numbers show he could be a triples machine. He’s also fantastic on defense and the base paths.
Lin also has the least amount of MLB experience out of the four candidates though. Due to this, the Red Sox could easily decide he needs more time to grow in the minors.
Then there’s Deven Marrero. This is where it got extremely tough for me. Being known for your defensive prowess will always put you in my good graces. I’m a major advocate for defense, and Marrero has it in spades. His offense came along slightly in 2017, and he was actually extremely impressive with runners in scoring position.
Despite average-at-best offensive numbers, a .278/.293/.593 slash line and 27 runs batted in with runners in scoring position a strong for anyone. He’s also solid on the base paths (five steals in five attempts last season), and can play third base and shortstop as well as second.
In the end though, the Red Sox will need more offense. While Marrero can give them some, he doesn’t have the offensive potential of Marco Hernandez.
Now, I know what you’re thinking.
“You just said I value defense and now I’m lobbying for Hernandez? He’s terrible at defense!”
Well, is he?
“Yes, he had six errors in 58 total chances last year!”
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Okay, but none of those came at second base. One came at shortstop and five came at third base. They also came while he was working with a shoulder that needed surgery.
Look, I’m not saying Hernandez is a Gold Glover at this point in his career, but he’s better than he looked in 2017. He has also shown he can handle second base better than third.
It’s the offense that pushes him into the position anyway. The Red Sox will need all the help they can get offensively, especially without Pedroia.
Hernandez is slashing .284/.328/.349 in 61 Major League games in his career. While he doesn’t provide much power, the switch-hitter brings speed and contact to the lineup. He’s also shown an ability to get scorching-hot at the plate.
It’s tough to replace Pedroia. While it’s tough to imagine any of these guys making anyone forget about the Gold Glover, they all bring something special to the table.
If the Boston Red Sox want to trot out the best lineup though, Hernandez is the answer right now.
A lot can change between the time this article is posted a the beginning of the season – jobs are won and lost in Spring Training. Nevertheless, Hernandez has the edge.