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Teoscar Hernandez to Mariners - Fantasy Baseball Impact

teoscar hernandez fantasy baseball rankings draft sleepers MLB injury news

Another full year removed from the economic catastrophe of 2022, and with no lockout problems to deal with - the 2023 MLB offseason is going to be an exciting one. We have massive names on free agency and plenty of teams prepared to do some wheelin' and dealin'.

Things got started last week as the Mariners made a trade to acquire Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez. It was an unexpected trade, but one that makes some sense for Toronto if they did not plan on giving Hernandez a long-term deal after the 2023 season when he is eligible to become a free agent.

Hernandez is one of the better fantasy contributors in the league, and the Mariners will be putting a solid supporting cast around him. Let's have a look at Hernandez and what we should expect from him in 2023.

Editor's Note: Our incredible team of writers received five total writing awards and 13 award nominations by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association, tops in the industry! Congrats to all the award winners and nominees including Best MLB Series, NFL Series, NBA Writer, PGA Writer and Player Notes writer of the year. Be sure to follow their analysis, rankings and advice all year long, and win big with RotoBaller! Read More!


Late Bloomer Turned Fantasy Baseball Stud

Hernandez was an exciting prospect coming up in the Houston and Toronto systems but fell pretty short of expectations his first few years in the Majors.

2016 112 .230 .304 .420 4 0
2017 95 .261 .305 .602 8 0
2018 523 .239 .302 .468 22 5
2019 464 .230 .306 .472 26 6
2020 207 .289 .340 .579 16 6
2021 595 .296 .346 .524 32 12
2022 535 .267 .316 .491 25 6

It took until 2018 for Teoscar to get a serious amount of runs at the highest level, and that was his age-25 season. It took until 2020 for him to really put up useful numbers at the plate, and it took until 2021 before anybody believed he had arrived since that 2020 season was so wonky.

If we look back at the last three seasons, Teoscar's 73 homers are the 15th-most in baseball. The .283 batting average he has put up along with those homers is a really impressive mark to boot, well above the league average. As a general rule, we typically get a batting average around the .240-.260 range from power hitters - but Teoscar has shown that ability to excel in both of these categories for a large sample now.


2023 Fantasy Baseball Outlook

We know Hernandez can hit the long ball and hit for a plus batting average. The 28.5% K% last year is reason to believe that his batting average does a wide range - a .250 season would not be surprising if that maintains. However, his quality of contact is great (15% barrel rate, .470 xwOBA on Contact):

Given those marks, it is fair to expect a high BABIP from him moving forward - which should make us feel better about that high strikeout rate.

The steals have been moderate (career high of just 12), but he is quick (28.6 max sprint speed in 2022, which is significantly higher than the league average). With the rule changes coming in 2023, we should be seeing more steals, and I think the Teoscar-type player will benefit the most (quick players that just haven't shown a ton of interest in stealing in the past).

For what it's worth, the Mariners attempted more steals than the Blue Jays last year. That probably just has to do with personnel, but it's not unreasonable to think it's an indicator of management willingness as well - but let's not get hung up on that. I think Hernandez is a double-digit steal guy next year with an upside for 20 or more.

Taking a look at his new team:

Projected Mariners Lineup (Roster Resource)

# Player
1 Julio Rodriguez
2 Ty France
3 Eugenio Suarez
4 Cal Raleigh
5 Teoscar Hernandez
6 Jesse Winker
7 Jarred Kelenic
8 Dylan Moore
9 J.P. Crawford

The lineup falls short of the game's best, but at this point, you would have to say that it's an above-average unit, and there is a real chance they go out and add another player or two in free agency. The Mariners appear to be in "win now" mode, so it won't be surprising to see more upgrades. Even if that doesn't happen, it's not a big downgrade from the Blue Jays lineup that Teoscar put up all that production in the heart of. He could find his way into the #2 or #3 hole here, in fact - that would be my guess, and that spot should breed more than enough opportunity for Teoscar to have a very strong year in runs and RBI.



Injuries and random things are always possible, of course, but for now, I can say this about Hernandez's floor and ceiling for 2023 (assuming full health):

.240/.310/.450, 20 HR, 5 SB, 65 R, 80 RBI

.280/.330/.520, 35 HR, 15 SB, 80 R, 110 RBI

Teoscar has proven to be a top-20 outfielder in recent years, and I think we have enough data on him now to call him a "safe" option. He will be 30 this year, which isn't a ripe young age anymore - but it's far away from the time we'd be worried about him being too old. Add to that an exciting offense around him and the CONTRACT YEAR ALERT, and we have a pretty intriguing addition to any fantasy team, and the price is more than reasonable as he is outside of the top-50 in early drafts.

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