Hernandez Plays Through Challenging Season
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New Orleans shortstop Anderson Hernandez, 25, is in a baffling situation. He puts up good at-bats, is a strong hitter, but some how only has a batting average of .186. He's in the middle of the team with 42 runs on 66 hits and has played in more games than any other Zephyr at 86, yet still his OBP is weak at .249.
Hernandez has a powerful swing and has proven that he can hit and be successful at the plate in past seasons. In 2005 he was named Rookie of the Year in the Dominican Winter League for averaging .307, hitting 51 for 166 and scoring 23 runs. In his final games as a B-Met he went 69 for 189 for a .368 average. His poor average this season can't even be blamed on inexperience at the Triple-A level, in 2007 Hernandez had a .301 average with the Zephyrs in 128 games played.
The explanation for Hernandez's .184 average this season? Both Hernandez and his hitting coach Jack Voigt chalk it up to luck.
"I don't think there is anything that he needs to work on, besides getting better luck," Voigt said. "He's had a tough season hitting balls hard and being right at people, diving plays and just not finding the holes out there."
As for Hernandez, he agrees with Voigt and believes he doesn't have any problems at the plate except for a streak of bad luck.
"Nope," Hernandez said flatly. "I don't have any problems, I've been hitting the ball hard, but I have no luck."
Hernandez has no problems hitting the ball however, he seems to struggle placing the ball on the field. It always goes straight to an outfielder.
"I've been hitting the ball great," Hernandez said. "I feel great and how I hit the ball, but it always goes straight to somebody so that's why I have trouble."
Overcoming this bout of bad luck could take some time and focus on Hernandez's part. All Voigt can suggest is consistency and focus, he would not work on Hernandez's mechanics.
"Maybe work on his consistency and focus from at-bat to at-bat and not letting a tough luck at bat early in the game affect his at bats later," Voigt suggests.
While Hernandez's situation in unique for the Zephyrs right now, Voigt would give him the same advice that he would give to anyone who is having trouble at the plate, continue to stay positive.
"It's not just him, but anyone when they get in this type of situation, they just continue to swing, put good at bats together, trying to stay positive and have an almost comical approach that things are going to get better," Voigt said.
Despite Hernandez's hits always finding their way into a glove of the opposing team, he still feels comfortable about his swing, making this situation more confusing.
"It's crazy, the way I've been hitting the ball should be for a better average, but I said before I have no luck now, I always hit the ball to somebody. But I feel comfortable, because I've been hitting the ball great," Hernandez said.
The Zephyrs coaches still have confidence in Hernandez as they continue to put him in the lineup. This positive attitude from the coaching staff should start to rub off, bringing him the change of luck that is definitely due.
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