After a strong showing in spring training, the Giants opted to send Gorkys Hernandez to the minors where he slashed .302/.382/.421 with eight homers and 20 steals for Triple-A Sacramento. While those numbers were impressive across 108 games, they were accomplished by a 28-year-old in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Hernandez was eventually called up for the final month of the season and held his own with a .259/.298/.463 line in 57 at-bats. His main value to the club lies in his excellent defense and his right-handedness as a bench bat. If the Giants opt not to re-sign Gregor Blanco this offseason, then Hernandez would be a comparable replacement to serve as the team's fourth or fifth outfielder and late-inning defensive replacement.
Hernandez went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and a pair of RBI in Saturday's win over the Padres. The speedy outfielder has struggled at the plate this spring, seeing his batting average rise to just .159 even with Saturday's two-hit performance. Despite his exhibition struggles, Hernandez is still considered a lock to make the Opening Day roster as the Giants' fourth outfielder. With two left-handed starters in the outfield, the 29-year-old should see a start or two per week when opposing teams have a southpaw on the bump.
It would be a surprise if Hernandez was not the Giants' fourth outfielder to start the season, Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area reports. This should come as no surprise considering the Giants let both Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco walk this offseason. Hernandez fits the bill as a classic fourth outfielder due to his plus speed and defense. In 503 plate appearances with Triple-A Sacramento last season, he batted .302 with eight homers and 20 steals. The home runs were likely inflated by the hitter-friendly nature of the PCL ballparks, but speed and contact are translatable to the majors.
Hernandez started and batted fifth Thursday, going 1-for-3 with a double and a walk in a 2-1 win over San Diego. Hernandez has entered a platoon at center with Denard Span. The former has seen the bulk of starts this week with the Giants facing three left-handed starters in their first four games. Usually the left-handed side of the platoon sees the majority of starts, so Span is still the guy to own in standard formats. With Edwin Jackson slated to start Friday, Hernandez will likely be used off the bench.
Hernandez hit a solo home run in a 3-for-4 game Tuesday night against the Padres. After going four seasons between his previous two homers, Hernandez now has two homers in two starts over seven days. Hernandez is hitting a robust .357/.379/.679, but he's unlikely to get too many more starts over Denard Span down the stretch.
Hernandez went 2-for-4 with a double, his first homer of the season and two runs Wednesday in Colorado. The long ball was his first in the majors since hitting three way back in 2012 with Miami, and he hit it on the day of his 29th birthday. Hernandez has hit pretty well since joining the Giants, but doesn't have much of a path to consistent playing time.