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Jul 1, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros infielder Enrique Hernandez (6) hits a double during the seventh inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Astros Future Interview: Enrique "Kike" Hernandez

Astros Future Interview: Enrique “Kike” Hernandez

Enrique “Kike”  Hernandez is a multi-utility player drafted out of the American Military Academy, PR in 2009 by the Houston Astros. Hernandez has flown under the radar some but has steadily moved through the Astros system and is putting up the best season of his career in AAA with the Oklahoma City Redhawks.

Kike has moved through the system while being about three years younger than the average player in his league. He started with the GCL Astros at only 17-years old putting up a .295 BA. In 2010 Kike was a member of the Valleycats NYPL Championship team. During this season Kike was 18-years old, while the average age of the league was over 21-years old.

Kike worked his way through Lancaster and Corpus Christi before getting the call to AAA Oklahoma City this season and he has not disappointed one bit since the call up. Kike has played 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, CF, RF so far for OKC. Here are his 2014 stats in AAA:

 

Enrique Hernandez, 2B, (DOB: 08/24/91)

2014 Stats (AAA): 63 G, .331 BA/.375 OBP/.488 SLG, 35 R, 14 2B, 2 3B, 7 HR, 26 RBI, 6 SB, 17 BB/23 SO, 6.3% BB, 8.5% K, .157 ISO, 125 wRC+, .379 wOBA

 

Lets get to the interview!

Kike was kind enough to take some of his free time to answer a few questions for us.

 

Astros Future (AF): You were drafted in the 6th round in 2009, and as it stands, the only player drafted out of the American Military Academy in Puerto Rico. Could you describe the feeling of being drafted and in such a high round?

Enrique Hernandez (EH): “It was definitely a surreal moment for me and my family. Something that I worked for my whole life and didn’t really know it was going to happen or not and then to get called in the 6th round was a bit surprising considering I was never one of the top prospects on the island.”

 

AF: From the games to the photos I have seen, you always seem to be smiling. Do you consider yourself the team clown that keeps everyone laughing around the clubhouse?

EH: “Umm, I don’t want to say clown buttttttt, yes! Haha I definitely love to be that guy that’s always trying to make everyone feel loose and happy. In the end, we’re doing what we love to do and we get to call it a job. Not too many people are fortunate enough to have that.”

 

Kike Hernandez, photo courtesy of Jayne Hansen

Kike Hernandez, photo courtesy of Jayne Hansen

AF: What is your favorite songs to listen to prior to a game?

EH: “I don’t think I have a favorite song but I do have a pre-game playlist and considering the way I am, you can bet it’s a pretty upbeat playlist.”

 

AF: Besides baseball what are some of your other hobbies?

EH: “I would say it is definitely going to the movies. I think I go to the movies like 2 or 3 times a week in the offseason.”

 

AF: What superstitions, if any, do you have pre-game or during game?

EH: “Pre-game, it’s when I get dressed, when I get my coffee, when I tape my wrist. Everyday it has to be at the same time, same order, same everything. Haha. Of course it changes based on where we’re playing since BP times are different.”

 

AF: Lets move on to more baseball related questions. So far this season you have played 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, CF, RF for OKC. Which position do you prefer and which position is most comfortable for you?

EH: “The answer to this question would’ve been a lot different last year. I would’ve said 2B since it had been my main position throughout my career. But I can honestly say I’m equally comfortable everywhere. This year has definitely taught me how to have a better work ethic since I’ve been moving around so much. I get a little bit of work everywhere during bp regardless of the position I’m playing that day. I play a different position almost everyday so I gotta do what I gotta do to stay sharp everywhere.”

 

AF: What is the most memorable moment of your professional baseball career?

EH: “I would have to say during the 2010 season in Tri-City, my whole family made a trip to NY to come watch me play (they’ve visited before but never together, that was the first time) and on the same day they got there, I hit a walk-off Home Run. I’ll never forget those faces as I was rounding third base and started looking at them. Priceless!”

 

AF: You are posting your highest career average and OPS in the highest minor league level. What do you contribute to your success this season? 

EH: “After last year, what I would like to call the worst season of my career, I went into winter ball and decided to figure out what was wrong with my swing. I tried a few things, not really worried about how my season was going, I was just trying to get better and there it was. I tweaked a little something in my batting stance and it clicked. All of the sudden I was seeing the ball better, recognizing pitches a lot earlier and I started driving the ball again.

I’ll never forget what long time big leaguer Felipe Lopez told me the year before, “Kike whenever you’re really hot at the plate, you can compare and you know what you’re doing wrong.” And so far that’s been it for me, not trying to think of my numbers or anything that I can’t control. Just trying to put competitive at-bats, just trying to smoke the ball somewhere.”

 

AF: Thanks for answering these questions, I hope to see you in Houston soon.

EH:” Thanks man, I appreciate it”

 

Once again, thanks to Enrique for taking the time to answer these questions. As stated before, he is a super utility guy who can make a living at multiple positions. Here is to hoping that he is making an impact in Houston sometime in the future.

 

**Photos courtesy of Jayne Hansen**

Tags: Enrique Hernandez Houston Astros Houston Astros Minors Interview

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