Red Sox utility man Kiké Hernández has been named the American League Player of the Week for the week of July 19-25, Major League Baseball announced Monday.
Hernández becomes the second member of the Red Sox to earn AL Player of the Week honors this season, joining J.D. Martinez — who did so in early April.
On the National League side of things, Dodgers utility man Chris Taylor — a former teammate of Hernández — was the recipient of Player of the Week honors after he posted an OPS of 1.433 in seven games against the Giants and Rockies.
In six games against the Blue Jays and Yankees this past week, Hernández went 10-for-25 (.400/.448/1.000) at the plate with four doubles, one triple, three home runs, nine RBI, and eight runs scored over 29 plate appearances while playing second base, shortstop, and center field.
The 29-year-old began his week with his first multi-homer game of the year in Buffalo, then came through in the clutch on more than one occasion at Fenway Park while the Yankees were in town.
On Thursday, with his side down to their final out and trailing 3-1 in the late stages of the ninth inning, Hernández laced a game-tying, two-run double off the Green Monster that scored both Alex Verdugo and Jarren Duran to knot things up at three runs a piece and set the Red Sox off for a walk-off 5-4 win in the 10th.
On Sunday, Hernández took center stage in the eighth inning of Boston’s dramatic come-from-behind victory over New York, as he ripped an RBI double off Yankees reliever Zack Britton that brought in Christian Vazquez to cut the Sox’ deficit down to one run and later scored what would turn out to be the winning run on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.
Including what he has done over his last six games, Hernández is now slashing .244/.322/.467 (111 wRC+) to go along with 14 home runs and 39 RBI over 84 total games (357 plate appearances) in his first season with the Red Sox.
Hernández, who signed a two-year, $14 million deal with Boston in February, has proven to be a valuable component of what the club is trying to accomplish in 2021 and beyond.
Coming into play on Monday, the right-handed hitter out of Puerto Rico ranks 20th among qualified American League position players in fWAR (2.4) while leading all AL center fielders in Defensive Runs Saved (12), per FanGraphs.
The fact that Hernández has been as solid as he has been at center field this season speaks to just how versatile he is, as he originally signed with the Sox to be the club’s everyday second baseman.
That being said, Hernández — who turns 30 in late August — will make just his second start and fifth overall appearance at shortstop in place of Xander Bogaerts in Monday’s series opener against the Blue Jays at Fenway Park.
First pitch between the 61-39 Red Sox and 49-46 Blue Jays is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Kiké Hernández: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)