Adeiny Hechavarria

From BR Bullpen

Adeiny Hechavarria MLB photo.jpg

Adeiny Hechavarria Barrera

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 180 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Adeiny Hechavarria is an infielder who made his major league debut in 2012.

Hechavarria hit .241/.319/.352 for Santiago de Cuba in 2007-2008, his second season. Sources after his defection claimed he played in the 2007 World Junior Championship in Canada, but there was no World Junior Championship in 2007. He was a regular on the middle infield, where he teamed with Luis Miguel Navas, and fielded .974. Through that year, he had a career average of .242.

Adeiny (also listed as Adeinys at the time) batted .262/.305/.355 and fielded .977 while playing shortstop exclusively in 2008-2009.

Hechavarria then defected from Cuba. It was a harrowing experience with fellow players Leslie Anderson and Rubi Silva that involved dealing with human traffickers and promising them a cut of future earnings. He later explained that he feared for his life during the long journey by boat to Mexico. He signed a four-year, $10 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays in March 2010. He made his US debut with the Dunedin Blue Jays, hitting .278/.288/.431 and fielding .941 at short in his first 18 games, but fell to .193/.217/.292 after 41 games. That did not prevent the Blue Jays from promoting him to AA and the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, where he hit much better - .273/.305/.360 in 61 games. He was back at New Hampshire in 2011, playing 111 games for the Fisher Cats during which he hit only .235/.275/.347 and was thrown out in 13 of 32 steal attempts. Baseball America rated him as the #19 prospect in the Eastern League, between Chih-Hsien Chiang and Kyle McPherson. The Blue Jays seemingly were not overly concerned with his often poor hitting performance, as they really liked his defensive play and were confident that his bat would eventually catch up. Indeed, he was given another promotion at the end of that season, playing another 25 games in AAA, with the Las Vegas 51s. Playing in a very friendly hitting environment, he improved to an uncharacteristic .389/.431/.537. During the two seasons, he had played exclusively at shortstop.

After two years of roller-coaster performance, Adeiny was at AAA Las Vegas to start the 2012 season. Apparently liking the desert air, he hit quite well, with a batting line of .312/.363/.424 in 102 games. In the 2012 AAA All-Star Game, he hit 8th and played shortstop for the Pacific Coast League. In a 3-0 win by the PCL, he went 0 for 4, retired by Matt Harvey, Zach Duke, Miguel Socolovich and Juan Cedeno. He also played a handful of games at second base in addition to shortstop, in preparation for an eventual promotion to the majors where he would need to play different infield positions. Indeed, that promotion came in early August with Brett Lawrie out with injury, and it was at third base that he made his debut with the Jays on August 4th. Facing the Oakland Athletics, he went 0 for 3 with a walk and 2 strikeouts. Hitting 9th, he was retired twice by Jordan Norberto and once by Grant Balfour before drawing the walk from Jeremy Blevins. Overall, he played 41 games for the Jays that first season, hitting .254 with 2 homers and 15 RBI while playing 18 times at third base, 17 at shortstop and 8 at second base. Still considered one of the Jays' most promising young players, he was included in a package of mainly young talent sent to the Miami Marlins on November 13th in return for a haul of higher-priced veteran players. Going to Toronto were SS Jose Reyes, Ps Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, C John Buck and IF/OF Emilio Bonifacio. Accompanying Hechavarria to Florida were SS Yunel Escobar, P Henderson Alvarez, C Jeff Mathis and three minor league prospects.

It was clear that the Marlins were looking to Adeiny to be a starter in the infield in 2013, although it remained to be determined at which spot exactly. That quandary was answered when the Marlins traded Escobar to the Tampa Bay Rays before the start of the season, giving the starting spot at SS to Adeiny. On May 5th, he had a career game against the Philadelphia Phillies, hitting a bases-loaded triple off Roy Halladay in the 1st and then a grand slam, also off "Doc", in the 3rd. His 7 RBI were a career-high and led the Marlins to an easy 14-2 win over the Phils. On August 10th, he was the hero of one of the Marlins' most spectacular wins of the year against the Atlanta Braves, who were trying to extend a 14-game winning streak. Young pitchers Alex Wood and Nathan Eovaldi had kept the ballgame scoreless until the late innings, and the scoreboard was still unspoiled when Adeiny led off the top of the 9th with his 6th triple of the year - most in the National League - to the base of the left-center wall at Turner Field; he then scored the winning run as Jordan Walden threw a wild pitch while facing Ed Lucas. He ended the season with a .228 average in 148 games, 30 runs scored and 42 RBIs. His 8 triples, with placed him 5th in the league, were his most impressive stat, but overall, his offensive value was quite poor, as witnessed by an OPS+ of only 56. He did play excellent defense, however.

Adeiny took a step forward in 2014, as he raised his batting average to .276, with 20 doubles and 10 triples, 53 runs scored and 34 RBI in 146 games. His OPS+ rose to 85, which combined with his excellent fielding, made him a useful player. Back as the Marlins' starting shortstop in 2015, he continued to show improvement with the bat. In 130 games, he hit .281 with 5 homers and 48 RBIs, bringing his OPS+ to 92. he scored a career-high 54 runs that year. In 2016, however, he took a step back, with his average falling to .236 in 155 games. He still produced a few extra-base hits - he had 17 doubles, 6 triples and 5 homers in 2015 and 17 doubles, 6 triples and 3 homers in 2016 - but his OBP fell to .283 and his OPS+ to 63, making it difficult for the Marlins to carry his bat, even if his fielding remained stellar. In 2017, the injury bug bit him, as he was limited to 20 games over the first three months, during which he hit .277 with 1 homer an 6 RBIs. In his absence, rookie J.T. Riddle showed some promise and on June 26th, the Marlins decided to trade him to the Tampa Bay Rays in return for two prospects, Braxton Lee and Ethan Clark. He played 77 games for Tampa, hitting .257 with 7 homers and 24 RBIs.

Heading into 2018, it was clear Adeiny's days as a starter - at least in Tampa Bay - were numbered, as one of the team's top prospects was another shortstop in Willy Adames, and he was expected to take over the position at some point sooner rather than later. Hechavarria played 61 games, hitting .258 with 3 homers and 56 RBIs. His defensive work was still very good, but his OPS+ was a mere 75. With Adames improving by the day, Adeiny was the one who paid the price when the Rays unexpectedly acquired veteran OF Tommy Pham at the trading deadline on July 31st: Hechavarria was designated for assignment to make room for Pham on the 25-man roster. On August 6th, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in return for minor leaguer Matt Seelinger, then on August 31st, was on the move again, joining the New York Yankees in return for future considerations. SS Didi Gregorius was on the disabled list for New York, and the team needed some insurance in case he wasn't able to return in time for the postseason. He hit .194 in 18 games with the Yankees to finish the season at .249 in 79 games between the three stops. He saw action in the postseason for the first time that year, going 0 for 2 in the Wild Card Game against the Oakland Athletics, and 0 for 1 in 3 games as the Yankees lost to the Boston Red Sox in the Division Series.

Adeiny again played for two teams in 2019, starting the year with the New York Mets and then being picked up by the Atlanta Braves in mid-August after being released. He hit .204 in 60 games for the Mets, but found his stroke with Atlanta, who had just lost starting SS Dansby Swanson, hitting .328 in 24 games and also blasting 5 doubles and 4 homers. That gave him a freakish OPS+ of 158 for the Braves, but altogether on the year, he hit .241 with 9 homers and 33 RBIs for an OPS+ of 92 that was still tied for the highest of his career. He returned to the postseason, going 0 for 3 as the Braves were defeated by the St. Louis Cardinals in the Division Series. He was back with the Braves in 2020, and played 27 games during the shortened season, hitting .254 with no homers and 2 RBIs. The Braves won another division title, but he did not see any action in the postseason. Following the season, he signed a one-year contract with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Pro Baseball.


Further Reading[edit]

  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Marlins' Adeiny Hechavarria recalls harrowing trip from Cuba", USA Today, May 14, 2015. [1]

Related Sites[edit]