Boston Red Sox rookie Marco Hernandez made his major league debut yesterday, going 1-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base in Sunday's 5-3 Boston loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Red Sox prospects tend to get a lot of national press attention but that has not been true in the case of Hernandez, so let's remedy that.
First, the basic profile from the 2016 Baseball Prospect Book:
Marco Hernandez, SS, Boston Red Sox
Bats: L Throws: R HT: 6-0 WT: 200 DOB: September 6, 1992
2012: Grade C+; 2013: Grade C+; 2014: Grade C; 2015: Grade C
The Red Sox got Hernandez from the Cubs for Felix Doubront in late 2014. The Dominican infielder is not bad defensively at shortstop and has a few resume innings at third base, but second is likely his best position going forward. He makes contact and can occasionally surprise you with some pop, but his impatient hitting approach cuts into his OBP. At age 23 he might improve the bat more than people expect, but overall he still projects as a utility asset. Grade C+.
Hernandez was something of an under-the-radar prospect when he was with the Cubs but he hit well in the high minors last year for Boston (.305/.330/.454 with nine homers), albeit with a poor BB/K ratio of 17 walks and 88 strikeouts in 463 at-bats. As noted in the pre-season comment the aggressive approach hampered his OBP, however he came close to doubling his previous Isolated Power numbers and did this without a notable increase in strikeout rates.
That's a sign of improved strength. He was 6-for-21 (.286) in six games for Pawtucket before his promotion this year, with a double and a triple leading to a .429 SLG. He was also excellent in spring training, going 11-for-19 with six doubles.
Check this out. Here are Hernandez's spray charts from MLBFarm.com, first from 2013
That fits the narrative of a player gaining strength and power.
Now, I am not saying that Marco Hernandez is an excellent prospect. But I am saying he's a good one, certainly worthy of more attention than he's received. He's not a bad shortstop and is solid at second base. Although he has not been a huge stolen base threat, he runs quite well. There are signs of increasing power, he's hit well in the high minors, and he's just 23.
Keep an eye on this one.