When MLB Pipeline released their top 30 prospects for the Royals organization, there weren’t a ton of surprises on the list. The top five were pretty easy picks without much to argue with. Eric Skoglund, Scott Blewett, and Foster Griffin rounded out the top 10. Pretty standard list. There was one surprise on this list that, quite frankly, I don’t think anyone could’ve seen coming.
Carlos Hernandez is a 21-year old RHP from Venezuela that made his professional debut last season with the Royals rookie affiliate in Burlington, NC. Making 11 starts (12 total appearances) and throwing 61.1 innings, Hernandez posted an ERA of 5.49, 4.89 FIP, 8.95 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, and a 40.7% GB%.
Hernandez is an imposing figure. He’s listed at 6′ 4″ 175′, but Adam McInturff of 2080baseball.com said he’s more like 6′ 4″ 220′, and a whole lot of muscle. This is an encouraging sign for the young righty. Any pitcher that size with a mid-90’s fastball is going to project well on prospect lists. Check out what else McInturff had to say about Hernandez on Sunday:
The bit about a “developing” changeup is noteworthy. According to MLB Pipeline, Hernandez’ changeup is supposed to be his best pitch. They even go as far as to compare it to Miguel Almonte when they were at similar levels, and Almonte’s changeup is a top five off-speed offering in the Royals organization.
The biggest issue with Hernandez is going to be the control. He only walked 3.9 batters per nine innings last year (which isn’t bad for a 20-year old that throws that hard), but he also faced rookie level competition that probably helped him out quite a bit by chasing bad pitches. That’s a compliment to the stuff, but still a cause for concern in the control department.
Check out McInturff’s video of Hernandez:
It’s not hard to see why some scouts love Hernandez. The stuff is loud and it’s electric. If he can figure out how to keep it in the strike zone with consistency, Hernandez could be an electric starting pitcher. He’s still young and he has time to grow into his big frame, but it would be great to see some steps in the right direction this summer.
I’m not sure what Hernandez has done to earn the title of Royals #14 prospect. With that being said, the stuff is certainly better than where we have him at Royals Farm Report. After further review, if I had to revote for a spot for Hernandez, I’d probably vote him at #43 between Andres Machado and Bubba Starling. He actually reminds me a lot of Andres Machado, to be quite honest with you. Big frame, raw stuff, not a ton of great control. Could play well as a reliever in the big leagues.
Hernandez has the opportunity to shoot himself up prospect rankings this summer. He’s one guy I’ll be excited to watch going into 2018.