Yoel Hernandez is one of the finds that have surfaced in the Phillies organization out of Venezuela. He is a strong right-hander with good abilities and has continued on a steady pace through the system. He has needed to repeat a level just once, spending his second season at AA Reading in 2004 and also converting to working strictly out of the bullpen after primarily being a starter through the early part of his minor league career.
In a couple of quick stints at AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre, Hernandez has found the going to be a little rough. He has the stuff to succeed at higher levels though and will likely be given a shot at AAA from opening day on in 2005.
|Year / Team||W||L||ERA||SV||G||IP||H||BB||KO|
|2000 Gulf Coast League||4||1||1.35||0||10||60.0||39||17||46|
Repertoire: Throws basic fastball, change-up and curve and needs his change-up to be effective. He has good movement on his fastball. His curve hasn't developed as well as the Phillies had hoped and he has trouble consistently throwing it for strikes. Because of the movement on his fastball, he can get a good amount of ground ball outs, which is part of the reason the Phillies moved him to the bullpen in 2003.
Pitching: There has been a slight rise in the number of walks that Hernandez has given up as a reliever compared to when he was starting. Originally, the Phillies had Hernandez pegged to be a starting pitcher, but because of his strong fastball and the fact that his curve hasn't developed too well, they moved him to the bullpen and were very happy with his 2004 season.
Projection: Hernandez doesn't quite have the stuff to be a closer, but he could become a decent set-up man. The only question now is whether or not he can conquer AAA. He has pitched 33 2/3 innings at Scranton and has an ERA of 6.42, but he'll likely be there for the entire season in 2005. The Phillies will have to add him to their 40 man roster or risk losing him in the Rule V Draft this December.
ETA: With a strong showing at Scranton in 2005, Hernandez could get a look in September. It's not out of the question that he will need a little more work and his debut will be delayed until 2006 though.
Comparison: Tim Worrell. A guy who won't overpower hitters, but is crafty enough to get them out. He also has the mentality to pitch in tough situations and not get rattled.