Teoscar Jose Hernandez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 180 lb.
The speedy outfielder stole 16 bases his first season and 11 the next. He hit 13 home runs with 24 stolen bases and 97 runs scored for the Quad Cities River Bandits in 2013 and in 2014, he hit 21 home runs, stole 33 bases, scored 84 runs, hit 37 doubles and had 85 RBI in 119 games between the Lancaster JetHawks and Corpus Christi Hooks. He played well for the Dominican national team in the 2015 Premier 12, hitting .333/.375/.600 with 3 runs in 4 games; in the field, he had 10 putouts, one assist and no errors. He hit a homer off Team USA's Zeke Spruill and a ground-rule double off Japan's Yasuhiro Ogawa.
He made his major league debut with the Astros on August 12, 2016, facing the Toronto Blue Jays. He went 2 for 4 that day, including a 6th-inning solo homer off Francisco Liriano in a 5-3 win. In 41 games, he hit .230 with 4 homers and 11 RBIs. He then spent all of the first half of 2017 in the minors, except for a lone appearance as a defensive substitute in the outfield on April 25th. With the Fresno Grizzlies, he played 79 games and hit .279 with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 44 RBIs. On July 31st, he was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays along with fellow OF Nori Aoki in return for the man who had given up his first big league homer, Franciso Liriano. He had a very good month of September for the Jays, hitting .261 with 8 homers and 20 RBIs in 26 games to make an excellent first impression.
In spite of his strong finish in 2017, Teoscar started the 2018 season in the minors, as the Jays preferred to go with some veteran outfielders, Curtis Granderson and Steven Pearce in left and Randal Grichuk in right. He was called up on April 13th, when the Jays placed 3B Josh Donaldson on the disabled list, and in his first start in left field that day, he went 2 for 5 with a pair of doubles to state his case once again that he was ready for regular playing time in the big leagues. Still, his season lacked consistency as even though he hit 29 doubles and 22 homers, he hit just .239 and struck out 163 times. He followed that with an almost identical season in 2019 that saw him hit .230 and strike out 153 times, but also slug 47 extra-base hits, including 26 homers. He had some of the best numbers of anyone when swinging at fastballs, but seemed unable to adjust to off-speed stuff. But for all the frustration of seeing such an obviously talented hitter being baffled by some mediocre pitches, he still managed to put up an OPS+ above 100 both seasons.
He took a major step forward in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, as he raised his batting average to .289 and managed 16 homers - the 5th highest total in the American League - in just 190 at-bats. His OPS+ jumped all the way to 148 and he formed an excellent outfield playing in right field alongside CF Randal Grichuk and LF Lourdes Gourriel, three players who were largely responsible for the Jays making the postseason. He went 1 for 7 in the two losses to the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Series, as most of the Jays' hitters were tied up by the Rays' strong pitching. After the season, he won the first major individual award of his career, being named the winner of a Silver Slugger Award for his hitting. He also received some consideration in the MVP voting, finishing 11th.
He started off the 2021 season by homering off Gerrit Cole of the New York Yankees on Opening Day, but then went into a slump. On April 9th, he was placed on the injured list for having had a close contact with a person from outside the organization who had been infected by COVID-19, then on April 13th he tested positive himself, resulting on at least another 10 days on the shelf. He finally returned on April 30th, and in his first game back homered off Jacob Webb in a 13-5 win over the Atlanta Braves. He was elected as a starter in the outfield for the 2021 All-Star Game and probably was the player who most benefited from the voting format that year. Voting for starters included two stages, and after the first, he was fifth among American League outfielders, but that was good enough to get him into the three-day runoff that concluded the voting. Blue Jays fans, perhaps because they had been starved of watching their team in person for so long, voted massively, resulting in three Toronto players making the starting nine, including Teoscar who vaulted past two other candidates into third place among outfielders. While his first half numbers were good, it is unlikely that they would have been enough to have him added to the AL's roster as a reserve had he not been voted in as a starter.
- AL All-Star (2021)
- AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2020)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 2 (2018 & 2019)
- Matt Kelly: "Is this the secret star of Blue Jays core? Hernández is flexing his tape-measure power -- can he keep it up?", mlb.com, August 21, 2020.