Washington Nationals Editorial: Where Does Daniel Murphy Rank Among Second Basemen in the NL East?
Cesar Hernandez – Philadelphia Phillies
Hernandez appeared in 127 games in 2015, hitting .272/.339/.348 with 110 hits, 20 doubles, four triples, one home run, 57 runs, 35 RBIs, 19 stolen bases (24 attempts), 40 walks, and 86 strikeouts with an OPS+ of 90 over 452 plate appearances.
A 25-year old switch hitter out of Venezuela, Hernandez solidified his role as a starter after he was given the opportunity to play every day once Chase Utley was traded to Los Angeles. Utley had started at second base for the Phillies on Opening Day for eight of the previous ten seasons. In 2016, however, Hernandez will be the first new player to start there for the first game of the season since Freddy Galvis filled in at the start of the 2012 season while Utley began the year on the disabled list.
While Hernandez is being handed the keys a starting role to begin the season, he may find himself competing for playing time with Galvis and Andres Blanco, especially once the number five overall prospect in baseball, J.P. Crawford, completes his development in the minor leagues. Regardless, he projects to bat eighth for a team that has the chance to lose more than 90 games this season. His expectations are not very high, the team is not really expected to compete, and he remains locked in his contract with Philadelphia for another six years. While that may seem like a lost season for an older player, Hernandez could use 2016 to build off of for the rest of his career.
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