Mariners’ Dipoto: Why August is when Teoscar Hernández got hot

Aug 31, 2023, 3:03 PM | Updated: 3:06 pm

Seattle Mariners Teoscar Hernandez...

Teoscar Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners celebrates after hitting a home run on Aug. 30, 2023. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Julio Rodríguez has been at the forefront of the Seattle Mariners’ recent offensive improvement, but another M’s outfielder has also been red hot at the plate.

ESPN’s Olney sees some Derek Jeter in Seattle Mariners’ Julio Rodríguez

That would be Teoscar Hernández, who like Rodríguez had a monster month of August and played a big role in the Mariners winning a franchise-record 21 games that month.

In 26 games played in August, Hernández slashed .365/.396/.654 (1.050 OPS) with seven home runs, 16 extra-base hits and 22 RBIs.

The topic of Hernández’s big month of August came up during Thursday’s Jerry Dipoto Show on Seattle Sports.

“I’m curious, has Teo done anything different? Or is this just Teo, man, and when he gets hot, you let him ride?” Brock Huard asked the Mariners president of baseball operations.

Replied Dipoto, “I think the latter. And we’ve learned so much about Teo. Obviously, he has had kind of an up-and-down run and been more up than down for the last three months, really. He was awesome in June, and we got a glimpse of what he could be.”

After posting an OPS of .949 in June, it looked like Hernández was finally starting to click after two rough months to open the season. But he slid to a .534 OPS in July before catching fire in August.

Dipoto thinks there may be an easy answer as to why Hernández started to play better this month.

“The pressure associated with a team with expectations that’s underperforming as you head into the trade deadline and what that creates for the guys in the clubhouse, I’ve lived through that in my lifetime and it’s not easy,” said Dipoto, who was a longtime MLB reliever before his career in the front office. “And in this case, I do think that for a couple of our players – maybe Teo most notably – just the the ability to relax and breathe after the trade deadline and go about your business really did a lot … And right now, Teo has been as hot as anybody in the league not named Julio or Mookie (Betts). It’s good for him that he was able to do it and good for us because it came just at the right time.”

Dipoto said that Hernández hasn’t changed too much at the plate this year as he’s done many of the things he’s done throughout his career, such as hitting the ball hard despite having a lot of swing-and-miss to his game.

“He just didn’t really get those hot streaks (earlier in the season) like he has historically,” Dipoto said. “But as I said, two of the last three months he hasn’t just been hot, he’s been torrid hot. And now when you look up, we’re heading into September and his counting stats are right on par with the things that he’s always done, which frankly is why we traded for him was to deliver what he’s delivering.”

Additionally, Hernández has handled the up-and-down season very well, according to Dipoto.

“You’re not going to get a better guy. Great smile, awesome in the clubhouse, he works his tail off every day and he never changed,” he said. “He never blamed any type of struggle, any type of three-week downturns that he might have experienced through the years. He kept coming right back talking about the team game and focusing on the things that he could do, and then lo and behold, he kind of broke through. Hopefully he can keep it running this way through October.”

Listen to Thursday’s full Jerry Dipoto Show at this link or in the audio player near the top of this story.

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