We just debuted “McDeep Dive”, our new series that will spotlight one Giants player every day for a week. We’ll move backwards and forwards through time, look at on the field stuff, off the field stuff, and see if we can learn something new about them. Due to unforeseen circumstances, this sixth post will be our last dive into Gorkys Hernández.
If you’ve followed the Giants at all this season, then you know one of their unlikeliest stories has been the rise of center fielder Gorkys Hernández. He’s 2nd on the team with 11 home runs (behind Brandon Belt’s 13) despite being only 6th on the team in plate appearances (262), and 8th in the National League by wRC+ for a center fielder (113, min. 250 plate appearances), just behind Odúbel Herrera and ahead of Starling Marte and Charlie Blackmon.
That’s impressive for a player who’s bounced around as a backup for his entire major league career, but hardly surprising when you consider his pedigree. The former Futures Game rosteree and top prospect had the makings of a top performer and at age 30, with a stable roster spot and starting position, he’s showing just what he can do.
But 11 home runs through half a season? He had 5 for his entire career (583 plate appearances) coming into 2018. Is it simply a matter of the new baseballs? Could it be the uppercut swing approach all major league hitters have adopted in this New Ball era? Could it be... you know... something under the table?
I prefer to think it’s exactly what he said in a post game interview earlier in the season:
Hernandez’s power was steadily gained during a weight training program he participated in throughout spring training, he divulged postgame. He focused on weight-lifting and using his hips and legs to drive gappers into the outfield seats. He did not work on changing his swing or even expecting more homers, though he wanted to have more power, but that has been a pleasant byproduct of his offseason work.
We know that part of it involved the weighted balls of the PowerNet Baseball hitting system (officially endorsed by himself and first base coach José Alguacil), which you can watch him use here:
But if you want to hit like Gorkys, you’ll need to do more than invest in the Powernet system. I spoke to a trainer who works with professional athletes, and here’s a list of the exercises he likely employed in the offseason:
Bulgarian Split Squat
Weighted stepping lunges
We might never achieve our dream of playing in a major league baseball game, but we can always try to train our bodies like how a professional athlete does. I love running and certainly, changing my diet paid huge dividends in transforming my life as well, but I’ve gotta say, as much as I endorse Gorkys’ 2018 season, I give my strongest endorsement to lower body weight training. It absolutely revolutionizes your life.