The 2020 Gold Glove winner is on the market and the Detroit Tigers need a second baseman.
As we continue to examine what the Detroit Tigers will need for the 2021 roster, the one direction that may seem to be the most obvious choice is at second base. New hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh worked with Jonathan Schoop in Baltimore so that familiarity helps.
However, if Detroit decides not to resign Schoop, one option that I think would work well is Cesar Hernandez. He may not have the power numbers Schoop has but there are a few reasons why he could work out in Detroit.
Since 2015, the switch-hitting Hernandez has played in more games than any other second baseman with 2018 having 708 plate appearances. He walks for his career at a 9.9% clip and while he is not a power hitter, he is a bat that you can put near the top of the lineup. He was a better hitter batting second, .375/.435/.518 with an OPS of .953 in 62 plate appearances than battling leadoff.
His approach at the plate indicates he is contact first. (54% contact rate in pitches outside the zone) As his power numbers went down this season hitting just three home runs compared to 14 the year before, he still walked at a higher clip (9.2%) than he did in 2019 (6.7%). His strikeouts were up a bit but all these numbers were just the strange 60 game season. Still, if you look at Tigers walk numbers this season, Hernandez would have been among the team leaders.
As far as his glove goes in 2020 compared to prior seasons, his numbers are interesting In terms of DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) with the Phillies, he put up DRS numbers of -5, -8 and -3 in his last three seasons but going to the AL, he had a DRS of 6. That is quite the improvement and perhaps that what earned him his Gold Glove.
Detroit got great value out of Jonathan Schoop and honestly, it was one of the better Al Avila signings he has had in the past few seasons. I think having Hernandez at the top of the lineup if he does not come back still makes you strong up the middle and keeps Detroit competitive. The one trip to the IL in six seasons does not exactly hurt either.