Can Adeiny Hechavarria Be Miami Marlins' Answer At Leadoff?

By Thom Tsang
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Long an all-glove prospect whose future in the bigs would be hindered by his ability (or inability, rather) to hit, Adeiny Hechavarria may have found a comfort zone with the Miami Marlins.

Or at least, he showed that his purported lack of a bat might be just a tad exaggerated.

Though the shortstop for the Fish has spent much of 2013 season struggling to stay above water at the plate as expected, the fact that the Marlins were able to afford him a no-pressure situation where his struggles would effectively not be punished may finally be paying dividends.

As the weather has heated up in Miami, so has the 24-year-old at the plate. Hechvarria has been just about a revelation in July (at least by his standards), getting the month started off right with an 11-game hitting streak, and went into the All-Star break having hit in 12 of 13 games.

The most encouraging thing, however, wasn’t just that he was finally getting some wood on the ball, but that he was really squaring it up.

With four doubles in that span, the shortstop collected as many two-baggers as he did in his first three months … combined. That was enough to convince the Marlins to try him regularly at the leadoff spot in his second game back after the break, a move that proved to be justified as the Cuban continued his hot-hitting ways, getting hits in six of his first seven contests at the no. 1 spot when the MLB season resumed.

All was going well … until the Pittsburgh Pirates came to town.

With a 1-for-12 series against the Bucs and an 0-for-5 performance against the New York Mets on Monday, it would seem as though Hechavarria’s reign at the top of the Marlins order may soon come to a premature end.

Then again, even if it didn’t, it was doubtful that his skill set would have been ideal at the spot anyway. Even though he remains a solid .330 hitter as the final days of July approach, the latter parts of his triple-slash in the month (.356 OBP, .381 SLG) suggest that he is simply not suited for leadoff duties because he just doesn’t draw enough walks (3.9 percent over 102 PA in July).

Even if he did, it’s not like his poor baserunning skills (eight steals in 15 attempts) would do him a whole lot of favours on base either.

That’s not to say that he can’t be a productive hitter in the lineup though. If anything, Hechavarria’s run in July shows that even if not at the no. 1 spot, he could yet have a long-term future with the team at shortstop who bats at the bottom of the order.

Of course, anything will look good to the Marlins at leadoff after Juan Pierre, but Hechavarria is simply the wrong man for the job.

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