What Happened In 2017: Turned things around in 2017 and carved himself out a place in Dodgers franchise history with an impressive postseason performance.
After a down year offensively in 2016, Enrique Hernandez bounced back and was a key contributor to the team in 2017. He hit left-handed pitching to a tune of .270/.367/.579/.946 with 25 extra-base hits, including 10 home runs, two triples and 13 doubles, good for a 144 wRC+. His contributions against southpaws helped the Dodgers improve their production against LHP from dead last in baseball (.214 batting average in 2016) to sixth-best in the NL (.253).
Kiké redemption arc status: lit
— Stacie Wheeler (@StacieMWheeler) May 7, 2017
Perhaps the choice to forgo bananas for gumballs was the trick.
Enrique Hernandez, everybody. pic.twitter.com/D1a2dn7lMx
— Chad Moriyama (@ChadMoriyama) July 26, 2017
Kiké once again provided versatility and played every position on the field except pitcher and catcher. He made three appearances at first base, his first time at the major-league level.
It wasn’t all gumballs and rainbows though. Hernandez struggled at the plate for three months, June-August, hitting under .190. He picked up the pace in September and October, setting the table for one of the most memorable postseason performances by a Dodger in franchise history.
Hernandez went 8-for-25 with five walks in the postseason, and hit .320/.452/.720. His biggest moment was when he hit three home runs including a grand slam and drove in seven runs in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs, tying postseason records. His trio of dingers helped the Dodgers clinch the NL pennant, their first in nearly 30 years.
Kiké’s epic playoff performance continued into the World Series when he came up with a game-tying clutch base hit in Game 2 at Dodger Stadium. Down to the Dodgers’ final out in the bottom of the tenth inning, Hernandez roped an RBI opposite-field single off Ken Giles to send Logan Forsythe to the plate.
Dodger Stadium was sent into a frenzy.
— Stacie Wheeler (@StacieMWheeler) October 26, 2017
Unfortunately, the Dodgers would go on to lose the game and eventually the series, but Hernandez’s postseason heroics won’t soon be forgotten. His success felt even sweeter considering the hardships both his family and home land of Puerto Rico had endured prior.
How can you not root for this guy?
How do I leave Pandora?!! pic.twitter.com/0SDudgtwJ2
— Enrique Hernández (@kikehndez) December 15, 2017
2018 Status: Hernandez has one option year remaining and is eligible for salary arbitration for the first time in his career this off-season. He’ll remain a versatile utility player on the roster and look to pick up where he left off offensively during the postseason coming into Spring Training.