Phillies Prospect #24: Yoel Hernandez

Yoel Hernandez was waiting for a shot with the Phillies, but always seemed to be overlooked. Now, after a lost season at Triple-A, Hernandez is just trying to get healthy and back on track.

Yoel Hernandez had a shot at helping the Phillies bullpen late in the 2006 season, but he wasn't healthy enough to get the call. Instead of being insurance for the Phillies, Hernandez went through a lost season after a couple of injuries sidelined him and limited him to just nine games with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. The really tragic part of the story is that Hernandez had gotten his season off to a great start with the only real blemish coming in the penultimate game before his injury when he faced three hitters and couldn't get any of them out. If not for that outing, Hernandez' 1.74 ERA would have been a scant 0.87 ERA.

Now, with a new season looming, Hernandez is battling another injury (shoulder tendonitis) and hasn't been able to do any throwing. Suddenly, Hernandez is a question mark because of his health and now it looks like he won't be able to work his way into a bullpen battle that might have been his to lose.

Yoel Hernandez' career stats

YEAR / TEAM W L ERA SV G GS IP H R ER HR BB KO
'99 VSL 2 2 3.32 1 14 11 59.2 48 27 22 3 29 57
'00 GCL 4 1 1.35 0 10 9 60.0 39 10 9 2 17 46
'01 Lakewood 6 9 3.47 0 25 25 160.2 153 94 62 7 42 111
'02 Clearwater 7 16 3.54 0 28 28 170.1 176 76 67 6 54 116
'03 Reading 6 3 4.26 2 43 1 74.0 100 43 35 4 31 46
'03 Scranton 0 0 6.00 0 2 0 3.0 5 2 2 0 0 3
'04 Reading 1 2 2.01 6 20 0 31.1 24 12 7 0 15 33
'04 Scranton 0 0 6.46 0 14 2 30.2 38 26 22 4 7 18
'05 Clearwater 1 1 11.81 0 4 0 5.1 8 10 7 1 3 7
'05 Reading 2 0 1.32 0 9 0 13.2 12 2 2 0 6 15
'05 Scranton 6 4 3.40 3 40 0 55.2 53 21 21 5 24 52
'06 Scranton 1 0 1.74 6 9 0 10.1 11 3 2 0 4 8
Career 36 38 3.44 18 218 76 674.2 667 326 258 32 232 512

Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent on November 5, 1998.

Repertoire: Hernandez has the usual compliment of pitches and had worked his velocity toward the mid-90 mile per hour mark.

Pitching: One of the big question marks about Hernandez will be whether his velocity will return after his back injury that caused him to miss all but the first month of the 2006 season. Velocity was never a major calling card for Hernandez, who relied instead on good movement on his pitches. He combined that movement with the ability to locate his pitches well and kept hitters headed back to the dugout. Pitches up in the zone from Hernandez are a rarity which has helped Hernandez keep the ball in the park which is important because he doesn't blow the ball by hitters. Instead, he strikes out hitters when he can and relies on his defense to make plays behind him.

Projection: Hernandez seemed to have a bright future and would have been a lead candidate for a bullpen spot out of camp this spring had he not gotten hurt. Instead, he's going to have to get himself healthy and then prove that he can stay that way and return to his successful form. Hernandez turns 27 in April, so he's at a point where the clock is ticking pretty loudly on his career. He'll start the season at Triple-A Ottawa and look for an opportunity late in the season or possibly before if there is an injury in the Phillies bullpen and he's healthy and pitching well.

 


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