With Josh Donaldson being placed on the 10-day DL yesterday, the Blue Jays then called up the hot-hitting Teoscar Hernandez to take his place on the roster.
Even after a strong performance this spring where he hit .358 with 4 home runs and 15 RBI, Hernandez was going to be hard pressed to make the Blue Jays out of camp. With Curtis Granderson and Steve Pearce pretty much a lock to make the team, and Randal Grichuk all but guaranteed of being Toronto’s starting right fielder, it unfortunately left little to no room for Hernandez.
With Grichuk’s early struggles and Hernandez’ continued success in Triple A Buffalo, the question of whether the young Dominican outfielder should remain with the Blue Jays this time around has come back to the forefront. The problem is, Toronto only really needs four outfielders. With Pillar, Granderson, Pearce, and Grichuk still healthy, it would mean one of them would need to be moved to make room for Hernandez. Obviously Pillar and Granderson aren’t going anywhere. And with Pearce’s contract, he’s not only difficult to trade but the Blue Jays would probably be opposed to the idea of having such a player down in the minors.
I want to believe that Grichuk will be a good player for the Blue Jays someday, but at the moment he’s struggling and often looks lost at the plate. One of the reasons it was a relatively easy decision for the Blue Jays to go with Grichuk rather than Hernandez to begin the season is because they’re so similar when it comes to their strengths and weaknesses. With Grichuk being the older of the two players, Toronto probably figured the younger Hernandez could use the extra time in the minors to continue fine-tuning his game.
Hernandez is still a strikeout prone player, which is a big reason why the Blue Jays have yet to call him up on a full-time basis. With Donaldson likely not out for long (fingers crossed), Hernandez won’t have much time to prove to the Blue Jays he deserves to stay with the club. But the more he continues to play like he did last night in Cleveland (2-5 with 2 RBI), the more people will be asking if he should be starting for the Blue Jays in right field.