Former Blue Jay Teoscar Hernández has the second-most home runs in baseball, Lourdes Gurriel and Matt Chapman also off to hot starts

Looking down the list of the early home run leaders is a sad experiment.

Mookie Betts leads the league early on with five home runs, but coming in second is former Blue Jay Teoscar Hernández, who has four home runs early in the season.

Hernández was acquired by the Blue Jays at the 2017 trade deadline when they traded Francisco Liriano for the outfielder who was then a prospect. They flipped him to the Seattle Mariners after the 2022 season had concluded, acquiring reliever Erik Swanson and prospect pitcher Adam Macko.

The righty had a fine season in Seattle, slashing .258/.305/.435 with 26 homers in 678 plate appearances, along with a 5.6 BB% and a 31.1 K%. Teo’s 105 wRC+ from that season was his lowest dating back to 2019, which if you recall, he had an excellent second half after being recalled from the Buffalo Bisons.

After the season ended, he signed a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $20.4 million. So far in 2024, Hernández is slashing .226/.294/.677 with four homers in 34 plate appearances. His 41.2 K% is astronomical, but he’s smashing the ball. There’s a good chance he will receive a qualifying offer from Los Angeles.

Going further down the list, we can see that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is tied for third in the category with a whole bunch of players that include Adolis García, Bryce Harper, Fernando Tatís Jr., and Mike Trout.

The Blue Jays signed Gurriel Jr. in 2016 and he made his big league debut in 2018. Like Hernández, Gurriel Jr. was traded after the conclusion of the 2022 season to the Arizona Diamondbacks, along with catcher Gabriel Moreno, in exchange for Daulton Varsho.

In his first season with the eventual National League pennant winners, Gurriel Jr. slashed .261/.309/.463 with a career-high 24 home runs in 592 plate appearances for a career-best 2.4 fWAR, while his wRC+ only sat at 106, the worst since the 2018 season.

Gurriel Jr. re-signed with the Diamondbacks in free agency and is slashing .308/.357/.731 with those three home runs in 28 plate appearances to start the season. He has a 173 wRC+ and a 0.4 fWAR in the early stages of this season.

There are tons of players tied with two home runs, including current Blue Jays George Springer and Davis Schneider. However, another former Blue Jay in Matt Chapman has two home runs as well early in the season.

Chapman spent two seasons with the Blue Jays where he slashed .234/.327/.429 with 44 home runs in 1202 plate appearances. The Blue Jays extended a qualifying offer, but he eventually signed with the San Francisco Giants in the Bay Area after spending so long with the Oakland Athletics.

It would’ve been nice to have at least one or two of these players on this season’s roster, as they lack a true fourth outfielder. At third base, Isiah Kiner-Falefa has filled in okay, but he’s never going to hit double-digit home runs like Chapman.

Still, hopefully, this iteration of the Blue Jays team can find ways to win and make the postseason for the third consecutive season and the fourth time in the past five seasons.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.


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Title: Former Blue Jay Teoscar Hernández has the second-most home runs in baseball, Lourdes Gurriel and Matt Chapman also off to hot starts
Author: Brennan Delaney

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