Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

FloBaseball Player Of The Week: Long Island Ducks' Adeiny Hechavarria

FloBaseball Player Of The Week: Long Island Ducks' Adeiny Hechavarria

From the Atlantic League, The Long Island Ducks’ Adeiny Hechavarria, was named the first-ever FloBaseball Player of The Week.

Jun 9, 2023 by Briar Napier

As part of a new weekly look-in at the many independent baseball leagues across the country covered and streamed on its platforms, FloBaseball is beginning a new Player of the Week series highlighting the best of the best from indy ball over the week that was.

The first recipient? The Long Island Ducks’ (Atlantic League of Professional Baseball) Adeiny Hechavarria, a former major-league mainstay who erupted for a near-cycle earlier this week while showing out for the Ducks amid his first season with the team.

Here’s a look at Hechavarria’s week, along with his background and a peek into his independent league season to date:

Career Look-Back

Major League Baseball fans have probably seen Hechavarria’s name pop up here and there on a big-league lineup card over the past decade, so it’s little surprise that the 34-year-old native of Cuba has hit the ground running in his first season of independent baseball. 

First signed in 2010 to a minor-league deal by the Toronto Blue Jays, Hechavarria made their major-league roster two years later for his debut, though a five-year stretch that followed with the Miami Marlins was where his MLB career was most notable. He played 599 games for Miami from 2013-17, batting .255 while being known as a triples specialist (31 three-baggers with the Marlins) and sure-handed defensively as one of the best fielding shortstops in the majors, holding a .979 at the position for his MLB time as a whole to rank in the top 20 all-time. 

Hechavarria bounced around after being traded from the Marlins to the Tampa Bay Rays in June 2017 — where he broke franchise records for most consecutive chances and games without an error — as stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, New York Mets, and Atlanta Braves followed. 

Two seasons in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Marines from 2021-22 and an attempted major-league comeback later, having been signed and eventually released by the Braves from a minor-league deal earlier this year, Hechavarria landed in Long Island in April and gets to show off what he’s got left in the tank against Atlantic League competition.

Standout Performance

The Ducks, full of major-league pedigree between the likes of Hechavarria and former All-Star Daniel Murphy — arguably known most for a legendary postseason with the New York Mets in 2015 in which he won NLCS MVP — unleashed that firepower in a 13-3 win over Frederick on Tuesday as Long Island attempts to climb closer to the top of the Atlantic League North Division, where it currently sits third of five teams as of this writing Friday morning. 

Hechavarria’s performance in particular is why he’s being shouted out. Finishing just a triple shy of the cycle, Hechavarria went 3 for 5 with four RBIs on Frederick’s staff in the Ducks’ series-opening victory and the first-ever game between the two teams, blasting his seventh home run of the season via a three-run bomb along the way to continue to make him well on pace to break his previous single-season professional record of nine, set in 2019 with the Mets and Braves. 

That blast came as part of a seven-run first inning from Long Island that helped it blow away Frederick early, though an RBI double from Hechavarria in the five-run bottom of the second merely rubbed it in and left the Ducks up by double digits. 

Across four games this week as a whole entering Friday, Hechavarria is batting 5 for 15 with seven RBIs, and the home run picked up earlier in the week as mentioned. With the obvious caveat that he’s not facing major-league pitching anymore, Hechavarria is nonetheless enjoying a strong campaign with his new team, proving that he’s still got some production left to give to a team. 

Hechavarria enters Friday slashing .304/.395/.552 through 32 games in the Atlantic League season thus far, finding a bit of renewed slugging prowess with 28 RBIs on the year. His noted defensive production has slipped slightly, holding a .954 fielding percentage on 149 chances, but is still certainly solid, while he’s also contributed to 21 double plays, as well.