2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Adeiny Hechavarria

By the winter of 2019, Adeiny Hechavarria had firmly established himself as a no-hit all-glove shortstop, with a career slash line around .250/.290/.320 in about 2800 MLB ABs. So it was no big surprise that going into his age 30 season, he had to settle for a minor league deal with the Mets organization (term loosely applied). He was called up to the big league club (term loosely applied) in May, and through August 7 had appeared in 60 games, accumulating 142 AB with a slash line of .204/.252/.359. That’s not good. Then the day before he was due a $1 million roster bonus, the Mets DFA’d him in favor of Joe Panik (who had just been DFA’d by the Giants). If Adeiny had hit at all, it probably wouldn’t have happened, but still. The Mets subsequently released him on August 14, probably to avoid the possibility that they would accidentally promote him back to the MLB roster and have to fork over the $1 million.

Meanwhile, Lt. Dans had been on the IL since July 24 with a bruised heel that was not responding to treatment, and Camargo was crapping the bed as his replacement both at the plate and in the field. Figuring that Hech would at least play MLB-caliber shortstop and could not be a lot worse than Johan offensively, AA signed Hech to a pro-rated 1 year contract that worked out to about $240k for the remainder of the 2019 season. It would turn out to be quite the bargain.

Adeiny was immediately placed into the starting lineup on August 16 (incidentally with the longest last name since Saltalamacchia), and then something weird happened. Besides playing solid defense, he mashed at the plate like the second coming of prime Alex Rodriguez to the tune of .328/.400/.639. In only 61 PA across 24 games, he accumulated an astounding 1.1 WAR, which would be MVP territory if he was that good over an entire season. If Hech’s performance for the Braves doesn’t convince you that in baseball anything can happen over a small sample size, then you are beyond reason. When Dansby made it back from the IL on August 26, Hech was relegated to primarily a bench role. He made the postseason roster, but only made 3 PA (no hits or walks with 2 strikeouts).

Hech is a free agent in 2020, and will likely have to settle for a minor league deal again in hopes of catching on with somebody during spring training. I don’t expect to see him on the Braves next year, but I guess it’s conceivable that they might try to stash him in Gwinnett as insurance if he was amenable. Wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.

Author: Kirk H.

Kirk H. is a long-time reader of and occasional contributor to Braves Journal who after all these years is still in possession of most of his faculties. Don't follow him on Twitter (or elsewhere, as that would be kind of creepy).

27 thoughts on “2019 Atlanta Braves Player Review: Adeiny Hechavarria”

  1. I don’t know if we can attribute Adeiny’s success to some tutelage of Seitzer’s, some work that was put into the offseason, or just plain luck, but he fits the profile that AA discussed when he said he wanted a defensive 1st SS.

    Then again, if the Braves got frisky and traded for someone like Lindor, turning Dansby into a stud super-utility guy would be awesome, too. I truly think Dansby could play anywhere.

  2. I’m going with SSS as the explanation. My preference would be for a 26th man who can hit. Ideally you would sign him to a deal similar to what he signed with the Mets last season. As I understand it, he could not refuse assignment, so in effect it was like he had options. If he insists on a major league contract, then I would pass.

  3. Hech’s bat speed has slowed enough that in NY the pitchers were just laying it in there and he couldn’t catch up. In Atl he seemed to be trying to inside out all the fastballs and turn on the breaking stuff (which he has always hit pretty well). That approach only works until the pitchers adjust and throw the fastball inside enough to break a few bats, and then he will be back flailing.

    Hech is the kind of player who has been killed by the modern trend to favor velocity above all else.

    Edit: a word

  4. I think my optimism for Donaldson has shifted slightly from being an analytic prediction to a fan hope. I feel like the market for him is so strong, hence all of the talk about Kris Bryant being traded. Tons of teams looking to land a big 3B. Could be also market-driven as to why Kris Bryant is getting so much talk, I suppose.

  5. From the last thread, the deferred money in the new Strasburg deal will reportedly include an interest payment, which supposedly keeps the net present value at $245M for Strasburg.

    Seeing elsewhere that the interest rate is 1%.

    Not sure I see what’s going on here. Maybe JonathanF or someone smarter than I am could shed some light.

  6. @5 I’m concerned they’re going to lose Donaldson, and I don’t want that. Pay the man, and go 4 years.

    They’re not going to swim in the deep, deep water for Rendon. The alternative is Bryant, but the rumor is that’ll cost Fried. Then they’ve got to sign another SP, which costs money anyway. Plus there’s the grievance to consider.

    I know some same there’s Riley, but outside of a hot streak, he hasn’t proven capable yet. The gamble there, to me, is bigger than the what if Donaldson slips a little in year 4. I think with an extremely affordable pitching staff taking shape over what will be the entirety of the Donaldson contract, they can weather that scenario.

  7. @2: I’m not sure he can start anywhere. Perhaps he’d be a super supersub.

    @5: but I want JD back.

  8. Hold me out of the post season in 2012
    put up with the titters from folks like us
    that and your $245 million show my respect for your decision.

  9. a musical metric is due
    the aural receptors the clue
    as means of assessing
    the barrel’s full blessing
    how pure, the way that it flew.

    This will happen this year coming, has to.

  10. I would love Donaldson back but I’m not in the “Donaldson or bust” crowd. You need a big bat, but I honestly might prefer Riley at 3rd with a strong corner OF bat like Ozuna/someone you trade for and get ender out of the lineup. That strengthens your lineup and fills your needs. Plus Pache can fill enders role just fine when he’s ready.

  11. @12 that would be fantastic if we could get value for Ender in a trade (e.g. for an SP). But otherwise I dunno.

  12. Cant forget Adeiny almost winning the STL series for us with an almost grand slam. Then the ball hit off FFreemans glove and it all went to heck.
    I dont want Ozuna at all.

  13. Summing up Rumor Mill Today
    1. Braves interested in Ozuna, who apparently wants 4 years (don’t buy the Braves interest).
    2. Donaldson likely to get 4 year deal.
    3. Astros might consider trading Carlos Correa
    4. David Price is drawing trade interest and Sox could tag him with a cheap player to offset cost.
    5. Braves re-signed Ortega to MiLB deal.

  14. According to a twitter source, the Reds might’ve just traded for Carlos Correa.

    From another twitter source, Ozuna decision down to Reds and Braves.

    From another Twitter source, Mazara likely traded tomorrow.

    I have 0 idea if any of these sources are legit.

  15. I could be talked into signing Ozuna, plugging Camargo in at 3B, and re-signing Culberson as your primary bench player with a SS caddy thrown in as well.

    If they are saying that Donaldson will get a 4th year, and that’s a guaranteed 4th year, then that becomes paying a 37-year old 3B $25M per year, which is something I don’t see the Braves doing, nor should they. I love me some Donaldson, but if we could get Ozuna for 3/5 of what it would cost to get Donaldson, then that does leave us room elsewhere. No one would say that Ozuna is as good as Donaldson, but if the money is proportionate, then that starts making sense.

    Ozuna’s been such an enigmatic player over the last 3 years that I don’t know what we would be getting. His wRC+ last 3 seasons: 143, 110, 107. And while those last 2 seasons are similar, it’s odd that he went from being fairly batting average heavy with less power to being a much different hitter: ..280/.325/.433 to .243/.330/.474. However, BABIP’s changed a lot too: .309 in 2018 to .259 in 2019. That was after BABIPs ranged from .296 to .355 with .326 being his average BABIP in Miami. So if you feel like he’s due to get back to close to his Miami days and that last year’s BABIP is a fluke, then you might be able to talk yourself into him being a middle of the order bat again.

    This would be one of the few situations where I wonder if Seitzer could straighten him out.

  16. My guess is that Donaldson waits for Rendon to sign first. He’ll still have plenty of suitors and his leverage goes way up. Someone will offer 4 years. I am increasingly pessimistic that he signs with Atlanta.

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