Signed for $650K in 2015, Hernandez has moved steadily through Cincinnati’s system and will get his first taste of full-season ball in 2019. He spent parts of 2016 and 2017 in the DSL before coming stateside during the summer of 2017, held back in Extended Spring Training last year before slashing a strong .301/.338/.406 in the Appalachian League.
Hernandez looks the part at shortstop, carrying a 6-foot and 170-pound frame with lean, wiry, quick-twitchy features. This body type often stays up the middle even with weight gains, and his actions at the 6 were above-average. He plays the position with some flair, a confident defender with coordinated actions and soft hands. Offensively, his compact right-handed swing makes frequent contact and won’t whiff much. A level bat-path and knack for contact hint there’s room to project on the hit tool, though Hernandez is lacking the present strength to do much damage at the plate. His strikeout rates and line drive percentages are encouraging, though he’s still beaten by top-shelf velocity and nearly half his balls in play were on the ground last season.
It’s easy to see the skills that piqued Cincinnati’s interest, though Hernandez still requires projection across the board. His glove and valuable defensive profile are the carrying tools right now, enough to give a chance to reach the big leagues in some capacity. With more strength gains and offensive aptitude, he could finish a role player or lesser regular.