Mets Sign 16-Year Old Venezuelan Shortstop Kenny Hernandez

An article by posted on August 14, 2014 0 Comments

kenny hernandez

The Mets have signed 16-year old Venezuelan shortstop Kenny Hernandez out of Carlos Guillen’s Baseball Academy for 1 million dollars today. Hernandez, who had to wait until he turned 16 years old, was one of the top 30 players on the board for Major League Baseball’s July 2nd international free agent signing period. He was the 13th best player in the class, according to Baseball America.

This is Baseball America’s Scouting report:

At 15, Hernandez is so young that he’s less than a few weeks away from being a 2015 player. A member of Carlos Guillen’s academy, Hernandez has one of the best pure swings in the class. His hands are quick and short to the ball with a classic smooth lefty stroke. He has good bat speed, stays balanced and keeps the barrel in the hitting zone a long time, which helps him make plenty of contact. Several scouts believe he’s one of the best hitters available. It’s mostly gap power now, but his swing has good finish and he projects to be big, strong and grow into average or better power.

Hitting comes more naturally than fielding for Hernandez, who would draw more excitement if he had louder tools or athleticism. He has showcased all over the infield, but he doesn’t project at shortstop, fitting best at either third base or second, with third base most likely. He’s a below-average runner and showed a below-average arm early in the year, but as he’s gotten stronger, he has started to flash an above-average arm.

MLB.com also has this to say about Hernandez:

Scouting Grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55

Why do scouts like Hernandez? Let’s start with the fact that some evaluators believe he might have the best all-around swing in the entire class. The 6-foot, 160-pounder has good hands, strong wrists and the quick-twitch action in the batter’s box that scouts love. Hernandez also has good bat control, plate discipline and a fluid swing that reminds some people of a young Shawn Green.

The broad-shouldered teenager has gap power and the ability to drive the ball to the opposite field. Hernandez has good footwork on defense, but it’s unclear if he has the overall skill set to stay at shortstop. Scouts have also praised his makeup and athleticism.

One scout said Hernandez could be the steal of the class based on his swing alone. Hernandez is from Tumero, Venezuela, and is trained by former Major League infielder Carlos Guillen at the Carlos Guillen Academy. The Mets are the favorites to land Hernandez.”

These scouting reports don’t really seem too glowing in terms of many loud tools, but keep in mind that the kids are 16-17, and they have a lot of room to grow. I’d say start watching him next year, as he will likely be in the Gulf Coast League or Kingsport as the starting shortstop.

Along with Hernandez, Mets went heavy in Venezuela this year, with 5 of their other top bonuses being Venezuelan.

SS Yoel Romero, $300,000

At 6 feet, 175 pounds, Romero moves around well at shortstop with good agility and average arm strength that plays up because of his short arm stroke and quick release. More quick than fast, he’s a fringy runner with gap power from the right side and projection to grow into more strength. Romero trained with Jean Alayon.

SS Edgardo Fermin, $250,000

At 6 feet, 145 pounds, Fermin’s game will benefit from additional strength, with solid tools that play up because of his advanced instincts and feel for the game. He’s a below-average runner with a fringy arm but is smooth at shortstop and moves around well at the position. He has shown a line-drive stroke from the right side with occasional gap power and the ability to hang in against good velocity. Fermin trained with Carlos Rios.

RHP Jhoander Chourio $130,000

Chourio who packs good stuff for his age and excellent athleticism into a smaller 5-foot-10, 175-pound build. He has touched 92 mph and shows feel for a hard curveball in the mid-70s that could evolve into an out pitch for him, with feel for a changeup as well. He trained with Jorge Ayude.”

LHP Daniel Guzman, $140,000

Guzman stands out for his advanced feel for pitching. He throws in the mid-80s now with projection to get to an average fastball in the future, but his strength is his ability to throwing strikes, along with his feel for the secondary stuff, including a curveball and a changeup. Guzman trained with Jose Malave.

OF Tulio Garcia, $175,000

Garcia has a compact lefty swing, good bat speed and a projectable and athletic 6-foot-2, 185-pound frame, which gives him the potential to hit for average and power. He has dealt with a shoulder injury and projects as a right fielder. Garcia trained with Carlos Luna.

This year seems okay in terms of signing, not many players with loud tools, but these are the top signing reported in. There is much room for all of these kids to grow, and a lot can happen between 16 and 22.

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About the Author ()

Teddy Klein is a Westchester Native, and New School Grad. He's a lifelong Mets fan with a background in minor league internships for scouting in both the Dominican Summer Leagues (08') and the Brooklyn Cyclones (10') with Cape Cod Baseball League sandwiched in between. Follow him on twitter @TK_MMO and feel free to leave questions below.