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Consistent approach at plate key for Hechavarria

March 15, 2017

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Marlins know what they're getting from Adeiny Hechavarria in the field. They're getting a Gold Glove Award-caliber shortstop.It's at the plate that the team has seen more mixed results. After a promising 2015 season, Hechavarria's offensive numbers slipped a bit last year.When you break down his

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Marlins know what they're getting from Adeiny Hechavarria in the field. They're getting a Gold Glove Award-caliber shortstop.
It's at the plate that the team has seen more mixed results. After a promising 2015 season, Hechavarria's offensive numbers slipped a bit last year.
When you break down his statistics analytically, an argument can be made the 27-year-old encountered some bad luck. He hit the ball about as hard as the year before, just not with the same results.
To manager Don Mattingly, it comes down to Hechavarria having a more consistent approach.
"We see stretches, we think a lot of that is just the approach," Mattingly said. "Let's make sure we're thinking right. Having an idea of what we want to do up there and being able to manage the at-bats. Sometimes they're not going to throw him strikes, and he's not allowing them to walk him."
Hechavarria had a slash line of .236/.283/.311 with three home runs and 38 RBIs in 2016, after he hit .281/.315/.374 with five homers and 48 RBIs in '15.
"This year, I'm taking the approach of looking for the outside pitch and going with it, and then just reacting to anything on the inside," Hechavarria said. "I felt the same from 2016 to 2015. I was making great contact last year, it just wasn't finding the spots. I didn't beat myself up last year, because I knew I was hitting the ball as hard. I just wasn't getting as lucky."
Hard data supports Hechavarria's claim.
According to Fangraphs, Hechavarria's hard-contact percent in 2016 was 32.3 percent, which was actually higher than 24.7 percent in '15. But his medium contact numbers were down from 55.3 percent to 48.6 percent.
He remained steady on soft contact -- 19.9 percent in '15 and 19.1 percent in '16.
"He was a little unlucky last year," Mattingly said. "He could have very easily looked the same. From my standpoint, watching it all year long, if it was the same, there are still a lot of at-bat giveaways and one-pitch outs. Things where we've got a guy that we've got to move over. Just not handling that situation of the game where we like."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.