Hechavarria making strides at the plate

Hechavarria making strides at the plate

Hechavarria making strides at the plate

MIAMI -- His defense is emerging as Gold Glove worthy. The question regarding Adeiny Hechavarria is whether he will be able to hit consistently.

The Marlins' rookie shortstop is showing signs that he can.

Hechavarria may have had his career-high 11-game hitting streak come to an end on Saturday night, but he has made tremendous strides at the plate.

During his streak, which ran from July 1-12, the 24-year-old batted .442 (19-for-43). His batting average, which floundered around or just under .200 for so long, is now at .237 heading into play on Sunday.

"He's hitting not just fastballs," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's hitting breaking balls, and you can just see when a guy steps to the plate with some confidence, what a difference it makes."

Hechavarria has also shown the ability to hit the ball to the opposite field, which will be critical in his development at the plate. When the Marlins acquired Hechavarria as part of their trade with the Blue Jays last November, the organization recognized the need for patience.

They are maintaining that Hechavarria's development as a hitter should not be measured in a season or two. They feel his production will pick up the more he plays -- and his best offensive years will start emerging two or three years from now.

For now, they are measuring his progress, looking for him to keep refining his swing, approach and pitch recognition.

"He's been able to go up there and really, in any situation, have a good at-bat -- whether it's a walk or a hit," Redmond said.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter