Marco Hernandez, SS
Age 21 (9/6/1992)
2013 Team: Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, (A)
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated
How acquired—Signed as free agent on July 17, 2009
After signing as a 16-year-old, Hernandez played on both Cubs DSL squads in 2010 batting .286/.348/.388 with 22 stolen bases, earning DSL mid-season all-star honors. He came stateside in 2011, playing in 51 games in the Arizona Rookie League and was impressive, especially with a BABIP of .370. He hit .333/.375/.486 and finished third in the league in hits (70) and fourth in RBI (42). The switch-hitting shortstop continued his torrid pace in spring training in 2012 and broke camp with Peoria as the starting shortstop, leaving first-round pick Javier Baez behind in Mesa. The 19-year-old really struggled with the bat in the Midwest League as his strikeout rate zoomed to 23.4%, nearly double his career average. He only hit .210/.249/.299 in 43 games and was sent back to Mesa. Hernandez headed to Boise and responded hitting .286/.310/.416 with 38 RBI and cut down on the strikeouts (12.7%). Like most young middle infielders, Hernandez had his learning lessons in the field committing 43 errors between his two stops for a .937 fielding percentage.
Hernandez hit .254/.280/.338 in April and after 417 at-bats in his return to the MWL, the switch-hitter finished at .254/.287/.338 for Kane County. He hit four homers, three from the left side of the plate where he's shown more power throughout his career. After only swiping 12 bases in 2012, Hernandez led the Cougars with 21 stolen bases but was nabbed seven times. He played 100 games at short handling 475 chances while committing 29 errors (.939).
Hernandez will take his athletic skills to Daytona for 2014 and continue his double play combo with Gioskar Amaya for the fifth straight season. He's proven he can play the position with a strong arm and good range. With Starlin Castro and Javier Baez ahead of Hernandez in the system, its easy to dismiss his ability to make majors but Hernandez has the skill set. Best thing about Hernandez is he's still only 21 and the Cubs can afford to be patient. He needs to work on his approach at the plate as he has a tendency to expand the strike zone, and needs to put more balls in play.
Michael Hamann, P
Age 22 (1/1/1991)
2013 Teams: Boise Hawks, Northwest League (SS); Kane County Cougars, Midwest League, (A)
Northsiders Report 2014 Ranking—Not rated
How acquired—Drafted in the 16th round in 2012, #494 overall.
Prior to Cubs
Hamann left his name in the Ohio State record books at Danbury High School in Lakeside recording the 11th lowest ERA (0.27) as a senior, fanning 21 as a junior, and driving in nine runs in an game as a sophomore. A three-time, first-team all-conference performer, he went 7-2 with 116 punchouts his senior season, earning all-state honors. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 24th round of the 2009 draft but went to Toledo University. In his college debut, he beat Bradley and ended his freshman season at 6-3 with a team-high 78.2 innings, earning second-team All-MAC honors. He started his sophomore year sporting a 1.96 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 59.2 innings before a shoulder injury ended his season. Returning to the starting rotation his junior year, he led Toledo with 14 starts, logging 76 innings with a 5.80 ERA. His best game of the season came against Xavier, allowing just one unearned run with a season-high seven strikeouts.
After signing on June 18, the right-hander made his pro debut with a scoreless inning against the Dodgers in the Arizona Rookie League. He was sent to Boise in the Northwest League, making his first appearance on June 30 against Spokane, working a pair of shutout innings. The Ohio native ran into problems his next two appearances yielding eight hits and seven runs in two innings. He quickly got back on track with four shutout innings in two games and then got the final two outs of a July 24 game against Yakima for his first pro save. He threw two more scoreless innings, two days later but was sent back to Arizona to rehab after hurting his foot. He appeared in eight games in his first pro season, pitching 11.2 innings with eight Ks, a 1.20 WHIP, and a BAA of .250.
After starting at extended spring training, Hamann pitched his way out of Boise after six games and 7.2 innings. The right-handed reliever didn't allow an earned run on four hits, a walk, nine punchouts, and three saves. He joined Kane County in late June after the right-hander had three saves and a 0.00 ERA at Boise. The 2012 16th-round pick out of Toledo was even better his first nine games at Kane County, not allowing a run in 12 innings with four saves and a win. The streak was finally snapped and the 22-year-old finished the year at 3-4 with a 2.49 ERA and a 1.2 WHIP. He averaged 7.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9. Hamann is a relief pitcher to keep and eye on in 2014 as right-handers only hit .191 against him.
After his 2013 performance, Hamann could start the year in Daytona but with only 31 pro innings under his belt, he may be back in Kane County. His fastball was clocked in the mid-90s at Kane County and is one of the many hard-throwing college arms the Cubs have drafted the past two seasons.
Rest of the "H"s:
Jordan Hankins, IF—The Cubs 11th round pick in June out of Austin Peay State University, Hankins made his pro debut on June 24 for Mesa in the Arizona Rookie League and then two days later the 21-year-old was promoted to Boise for the rest of the season. Hankins hit .234/.291/.290 in 42 games, seeing action at third and second for the Hawks.
Marcus Hatley, RHP—Hatley has spent all seven on his pro seasons with the Cubs after being drafted in the 39th round in 2006. He pitched the past two years between Tennessee and Iowa. He threw 60.2 innings (42.2 IP in 35 games at Iowa) and was 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 2013. He spent the winter pitching in Mexico, recording six saves in 17 games for Culiacan (1-3, 3.94 ERA, 16 IP).
Zak Hermans, RHP—Drafted in the 30th round out of Princeton in 2013, the Ivy-League 22-year-old made his pro debut in the Arizona Rookie League on July 4, working a scoreless inning in a start in Mesa against the Angels. Hermans appeared in six games, earning his first pro win July 11 vs. Padres. He finished with a line of 1-1, 3.12 ERA, 8.2 IP, 10 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 10 K.
Jeffry Hernandez, RHP—A free agent signed in Jan of 2012, the 19-year-old appeared in 13 games in the Dominican Summer League this summer, going 1-0 with a 4.24 ERA in 34 innings. Hernandez pitched in eight games in his debut season in the DSL (1-3 4.58 ERA, 19.2 IP, 15 K).
Luis Hernandez, RHP—The 6-foot-5 Dominican native signed in August of 2012 and made his pro debut this year in the DSL. The 18-year-old made nine starts, going 2-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 39.2 innings.
Jesse Hodges, IF—Signed as a free agent during the winter of 2013, Hodges is a former member of the Canadian Junior National Team. The 19-year-old spent most of his first pro season at Mesa hitting .210/.272/.293 in 47 games. Hodges hit two homers and knocked in 20 runs, and earned a promotion to Boise during a trip to Canada and for the playoffs as some Boise players had travel restrictions.
Martin Hodwalker, OF—Signed in 2013 out of Colombia, the 18-year-old hit .204/.283/.250 in 40 games in the Venezuelan Summer League in his first pro season.
Tommy Hottovy, LHP—The former big league reliever with the Red Sox and Royals was signed as a free agent and received a non-roster invite to spring training. The left-handed relief specialist spent 2013 between the Royals AA and AAA affiliates with 42 strikeouts in 43 innings. The sidewinder throws a 90 mph fastball to go along with a sinker, slider and a plus change-up.