The youth movement of the Astros continues to provide the major league roster with talent.
One prospect that improved his stock the most during the Houston Astros 2016 season is most likely Teoscar Hernandez. Due to his resurgence in the team’s minor league system, the 24-year old may now be part of the outfield plans for 2017.
After finishing the 2015 season with a dismal .219/.275/.362 slash line, there were thoughts that Hernandez’s star had faded. Though he was one of the Stros more promising prospects, the team is littered with talented outfielders advancing the ranks. If the 2016 season didn’t end well, then it was possible that other outfielders in the system would surpass him on the depth chart.
Hernandez had other plans though in 2016. The youngster from the Dominican Republic managed to thrust his way back into the discussion of top outfield prospects for the Astros.
2016 statistics: 107 games (AA-AAA), .307/.377/.459, 130 H, 28 2B, 34 SB
Any concern that his 2015 season would carry over into 2016 were eliminated. Hernandez solidified himself as one of the team’s more promising prospects as he was promoted from Double-A Corpus Christi to Triple-A Fresno.
That success in the minors led to the Hernandez being called up to the majors this past summer. The reason behind this was two-fold: one, the Astros needed outfield depth during their playoff push, and two, Hernandez earned it.
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Between his improvement with the bat and his ability to play center field, his skills became necessary as the Astros needed outfield help. Outside of George Springer, the outfield became a rotating door for the playoff contender.
And though the team floundered down the stretch, Hernandez did provide quality games and at-bats. A particular stretch of games from September 28th to October 2nd stood out as he provided some key production. Five hits, which included three doubles, in four games. Unfortunately, this all came after the Astros were essentially eliminated from playoff contention.
But the reasons for optimism were there, and his short time in the majors could prove to beneficial for 2017.
Hernandez will surely get a shot as the Stros everyday center fielder if the position does not get addressed in the offseason. And he should. The talent is there, and he should only improve. But the question is will he?
Of course, there will be a battle for the outfield next season. Jake Marisnick figures to be part of the outfield equation once again. A healthy Preston Tucker is in play as well. But Hernandez has the skills to be the everyday center fielder for the Astros.
Let’s just see if that happens now. After all, there is plenty of time between now and the start of Spring Training.
**Statistics provided by Baseball Reference**