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From Billie Weiss, Getty Images

Kiké Hernandez Does This All The Time

Kiké Hernandez has been collecting souls this postseason, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. The Red Sox utilityman hit two bombs and knocked in six across four ALDS games (1.329 OPS). He’s hit three more home runs in two ALCS games (2.478 OPS, very above-average). Hernandez is the most unstoppable force in the MLB playoffs so far, by a wide margin.

While some are treating this incredible run as if it came from an unlikely source, those who’ve watched him blossom know this is very on-brand. Kiké Hernandez, in no uncertain terms, is one of the best playoff performers of all-time.

History of Greatness

Kiké Hernandez has had a respectable career. He’s been exactly average at the plate, with a 100 career OPS+ and a .748 OPS. He’s slashing .242/.318/.430, and averages about 18 home runs per 162 games played. Hernandez’s calling card has always been his glove(s), as he plays multiple positions very well. But he’s no slouch in the box.

In the playoffs, though, he becomes a completely different class of hitter.

Kiké Hernandez had four separate playoff series with an OPS over 1.000 before the 2021 postseason started. He’s now up to six, assuming he doesn’t fall all the way back down to Earth against the Astros. He has hit a whopping 13 playoff home runs in 177 plate appearances. That’s helped him produce a .933 career OPS in October. That’s…exceptional.

How exceptional? Well, let’s compare Kiké’s numbers to another playoff legend: the mighty David Ortiz. Ortiz hit 17 postseason home runs in 369 playoff plate appearances, over double what Hernandez has gotten thus far. His October OPS sits at .947, just 14 points higher than Boston’s utilityman. When you compare his playoff OPS to his regular season OPS (.947 to .933), you’ll find that Ortiz didn’t really elevate his game as much as he maintained it. Still impressive, as it’s harder to hit in the postseason. But Kiké is another story.

Regular season Kiké is a man who sometimes struggles for at bats. A man who’s been used as a way to give a superior player a breather. Postseason Kiké is, non-hyperbolically, a David Ortiz-like presence. A man your team can rely on to do damage at every turn.

This dude lives for October.

Blood in the Water

The Red Sox and Astros are tied at one game a piece in the ALCS, but the Sox have to be feeling pretty good about themselves. The ‘Stros have already lost two of their best starters in Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers to injury. They will have to mix and match with some spot starters and a heavy reliance on their bullpen for the rest of this series. What’s that smell like? That smells like runs.

Look for the rest of this ALCS to be a high-scoring affair, as both teams have excellent lineups and average and/or banged up pitching staffs. If history is any indicator of future events, that means the one and only Kiké Hernandez will be unloading on baseballs for the foreseeable future.

October is #KikéSZN.