Phillies Prospect #40: Cesar Hernandez

Cesar Hernandez handled the move from the Venezuelan Summer League to the Gulf Coast League well in 2009. Now, he just needs some improvement on his defense and time to develop to become a legitimate major league prospect.

Acquired: Signed as an international free agent prior to the 2007 season.
Bats: S   Throws: R
Height: 5' 10"   Weight: 166 lbs
Birth Date: May 23, 1990
2009 Team(s): GCL Phillies
Positions/Games: 2B (38 G)
2009 Ranking: 44

Why Hernandez moved up to #40: Cesar Hernandez continues to develop at a decent pace and you have to keep in mind that he's still a few months away from his 20th birthday and is coming off his first pro season in the states. The biggest thing that we've seen in Hernandez' development is how coachable and hard working he is and how badly he wants to improve his game. There was bound to be a bit of a fall off in his offensive numbers when he came to the states last season, and there was, but he actually performed better than many thought that he might in his first shot at the Gulf Coast League. 

Category Cesar Hernandez Gulf Coast League
PA/2B 35.0 23.6
PA/3B 175.0 128.7
PA/HR - 109.1
PA/RBI 9.7 10.4
PA/R 5.6 8.9
PA/BB 10.3 11.6
PA/KO 8.7 4.9
AVG .267 .283
OBP .351 .316
SLG .313 .335
Categories with numbers in white show areas where the player outperformed the average player in the their league during the 2009 season. Categories with numbers in black show areas where he was below the league average.

Batting and Power: It should always catch your eye when a hitter - especially a young hitter - draws more walks than he does strikeouts, which Hernandez did in 2008. This past season, he was close (17 BB, 20 K), which is still very good, but when you analyze things a little closer, there is just a bit of concern. His walk ratio went from one walk every 7.1 plate appearances in 2008 to one walk every 10.3 plate appearances in 2009, meaning that he walked at a lower rate than he did the previous season, most likely due to the change in leagues. Hernandez needs to maintain consistency in plate discipline and drawing walks, because he needs simply to get on base and then rely on his speed. Every time that Hernandez strikes out is a complete waste, because all he really needs to do is put the bat on the ball and hope for the best.

Baserunning and Speed: Hernandez isn't blistering on the basepaths, but he has good speed and pretty good base-stealing skills that he can put to good use. He's the type of runner that can make things happen when he's on base and doesn't give up on ground balls, meaning that infielders have to make clean plays to throw him out at first. Speed is an asset for Hernandez and he uses it wisely.

Defense: Defense is still an area that Hernandez is going to have to improve on for him to be successful. He made ten errors in 38 games at second base last season and that's just too many for a true middle-infield prospect. He's got good range at second, but not enough to play shortstop on any regular basis.

Projection: Hernandez will stay in one of the short-season leagues in 2010, most likely earning a move up to Williamsport. Until then, he'll stick in extended camp, working primarily on his defense as he tries to make himself into at least an average second base prospect. Long-term, it's going to be an uphill battle for Hernandez; he's on the small side, doesn't have the type of offense that teams like to see from a second baseman and then there are his defensive holes to be concerned about. That's not to say that he won't make it though, because this is a young kid with a strong work ethic and he'll likely only get better as he continues to move through the system.

Comparison: Remember Tomas Perez? If Hernandez can upgrade his defensive skills, he can be just like Perez, but with a better offensive skill set. The fact that so far, he's limited to just one position could hurt his chances, but again, give him a chance to show what he can do as he develops.

Cesar Hernandez' career stats

2007 VSL 54 181 32 50 7 8 2 21 6 11 30 .276 .765
2008 VSL 60 197 31 62 7 6 1 24 19 33 22 .315 .838
2009 GCL Phillies 41 150 21 40 5 1 0 18 13 17 20 .267 .664
Venezuela Totals 114 378 63 112 14 14 3 45 25 44 52 .296 .805
Minor League Totals 41 150 21 40 5 1 0 18 13 17 20 .267 .664

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