Red Sox could really use a healthy Marco Hernandez in 2019

BOSTON, MA - JULY 01: Marco Hernandez
BOSTON, MA - JULY 01: Marco Hernandez /

After years of injuries and surgeries, the Boston Red Sox could really use a healthy version of utility infielder Marco Hernandez in 2019.

Not too long ago, Marco Hernandez looked like he was going to be the next Brock Holt for the Boston Red Sox. The hard-hitting utility infielder knew his way around a glove and quickly climbed his way up through the minors.

After a strong spring training in 2016, Hernandez made his major league debut and appeared in forty games for the Sox that year with an impressive slash line of .294/.357/.373.

At the time, it seemed like the former All-Star Holt might be coming back down to earth. Recurring concussions and a dip in production led some to believe that Holt’s days in Boston were numbered.  Plus, the Sox had Hernandez waiting in the wings to take over his role.

Maybe that’s the way things would have shaken out, if the injury bug had not also bitten Hernandez in 2017. A shoulder injury that eventually required surgery kept him out for the majority of the season. Last year, the young prospect was ready to return to the field and prove himself to this team. Unfortunately, he needed a cleanup procedure that February.  A recovery that was supposed to last six weeks ended up taking longer than expected. In July, Hernandez needed to undergo a second major surgery on his shoulder and thus his season ended before it ever really began.

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Meanwhile, Holt furthered endeared himself to Red Sox Nation by hitting the first ever cycle in postseason history against the hated New York Yankees. The Red Sox won yet another World Series and Hernandez was nowhere to be seen. His name has been all but forgotten by most of Boston, dismissed as yet another prospect who just didn’t pan out.

Now Hernandez is on the verge of being back and ready to attempt to resurrect his career.  It won’t be easy, considering he’s missed most of the past two years due to a couple of big surgeries, but he’s certainly a player to keep an eye on.  The 26-year-old could end up being an important piece for the Red Sox if he returns to form.

Right now the infield situation could certainly use some depth.  Xander Boegarts and Rafael Devers are locked in at their positions, but both dealt with injuries in 2018. Dustin Pedroia is back after missing most of last year, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not he’ll be able to stay healthy. Eduardo Nunez and Holt are still here, but poor play or an injury to either of them could open up the door for Hernandez’s return to the bigs.

It’s easy to see a world in which the Red Sox have to turn to another infielder to take over for any one of these players. Hernandez is hoping he can be that guy.  First he’ll need to prove he can stay healthy, which will be undoubtedly be a challenge in and of itself. Then he has to show upper management that he can still play at a high level. Missing that much time certainly impacts a player’s timing and athletic ability.  It might take him a whole season in the minors to be able to get back on track.

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The Red Sox are hoping that Hernandez can be the player they imagined him to be when they acquired him from the Cubs in 2014. Despite the injuries, the athletic youngster still holds a lot of promise. It isn’t hard to picture him contributing in a Steve Pearce type way to a playoff team down the road.  Only time will tell if Hernandez turns out to be the next Brock Holt or the next Ryan Kalish (remember him?).  Either way, he’s someone fans are going to want to be aware of as the countdown to Opening Day continues.