Teoscar Hernandez Leads Up-And-Coming Outfielders
The Blue Jays suddenly find themselves with an enviable stockpile of outfielders at the upper levels, and as the spring progresses they must figure out how to get each one of them sufficient playing time this season.
Barring a big league need, Teoscar Hernandez, Anthony Alford and Dalton Pompey appear to be 1-2-3 on the organization’s depth chart and positioned to get the bulk of the work at Triple-A Buffalo.
But Dwight Smith Jr. debuted in the big leagues last year and shouldn’t be overlooked, speedy Roemon Fields was Buffalo’s team MVP in 2017 and Jonathan Davis has put himself on the Blue Jays' radar.
The Bisons, obviously, can’t accommodate them all, so unless someone gets injured or the Blue Jays make a move, Double-A New Hampshire will be needed to resolve the logjam.
"If we’re 100 percent healthy, our challenge is also somewhat complicated by (catching prospects) Reese McGuire and Danny Jansen and how we’re using DH at-bats (at Buffalo),” general manager Ross Atkins said. "All those guys need to play on a regular basis, and as long as we have regular playing time, they’re all worthy of being in Triple-A.
"The likelihood is we’ll have to use Double-A, as well, if we’re completely healthy.”
Hernandez, the principal return from the Astros last July for Francisco Liriano, impressed during a September stint with the Blue Jays in which he hit eight home runs in 26 games. But he also struck out 38 percent of the time.
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"Plate discipline is the key hitting challenge,” Atkins said. "He’s looked great early on.”
For now, Hernandez has the jump on both Alford, whose big league debut last year was truncated by a broken hamate bone, and Pompey, who missed nearly the entire year with a concussion and knee troubles.