Position: CF Bats/Throws: R/R Age: February 8, 2001 (18)
Acquired: Signed as an International Free Agent from the Dominican Republic on 7/2/17 ($1.5 million bonus)
Previous Ranking: 20
Stats (DSL): .261/.351/.386, 12 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 9 SB, 5 CS
Back in 2017, Hernandez was regarded as one of the top international free agents available. For example, Baseball America rated him as the 16th best player and seventh best outfielder in that class. The reason for that is his highly projectable and promising skill set.
Offensively, Hernandez is a player with natural power and bat speed, which is a strong indicator of future power potential. This is natural in the purest sense of the word as Hernandez never so much as lifted weights prior to his being signed by the Mets organization. There is also the consideration that with his 5’9″, 210 lb frame, he has room to mature physically.
When you look at Hernandez’s below average slugging percentage and ISO (.124), you may come away with the belief that his power did not translate well in the Dominican Summer League. However, that would overlook his good 7.1 percent HR/FB ratio. With him having a solid 18.2 percent strikeout rate, it is clear he has good contact skills. The key for him going forward is learning to hit the ball more in the air than on the ground (41.4 percent).
Other adjustments Hernandez will need to make at the plate are better pitch recognition and plate discipline. With that plus his physical maturation, we could see Hernandez hit for more power when he comes stateside next season. With that respect, there are three important factors which will help him make those adjustments.
First, Hernandez will be working with better coaches stateside. Second, Hernandez is already viewed as a hard worker willing to put in the time to improve all the aspects of his game. Finally and perhaps most importantly, he is talented. As a result, he has a good talent base to improve. That talent base extends beyond just his ability to hit.
In addition to his power, the next part of his game which stands out is his speed. With his speed, Hernandez has the ability to cover ground in center. It also gives him the ability to run the basepaths, potentially leading to more extra base hits and stolen bases.
However, it should be noted while he has speed, he does not quite have “game speed.” He was only successful 64 percent of the time in his stolen base attempts. Additionally, while he has the ability to use his speed to cover ground in center, he does not quite have the instincts out there to get the most out of his ability. Again, with his work ethic and better coaching, he should make improvements and learn how to better utilize his speed.
The one concern from that standpoint is as Hernandez matures he may lose some of that speed. Ultimately, it should push him out of center field, but it should not prevent him from being a quality defender. In fact, John Sickels recently said on Twitter that Hernandez is a prototypical right fielder with a strong arm with good range and speed.
Overall, the best way to describe Hernandez is raw. He has all the tools to be a terrific player, but he does not quite have the experience and coaching to get the most out of those tools. With his solid work ethic, we can anticipate him making strides forward next year.
50-46 Led by Michael Paez
45-41 Led by Ranfy Adon
40-36 Led by Anthony Dirocie
35-31 Led by Ryley Gilliam
30-26 Led by Chris Viall
25 Carlos Cortes
24 Ali Sanchez
23 Eric Hanhold
22 Luis Carpio
21 Freddy Valdez
20 Walker Lockett
19 Junior Santos
18 Gavin Cecchini
17 Jordan Humphreys
16 Christian James
15 Tony Dibrell
14 Francisco Alvarez
13 Will Toffey