The movers were probably hating me in December when they lugged several boxes of books out of my condo in Westchester. But I couldn’t bring myself to toss out my old Baseball America Prospect Handbooks. Just in case.
Like today, for instance. The Red Sox claimed Gaby Hernandez on waivers from Seattle. Big deal, right?
Well, maybe. But maybe not.
Into the archives we go …
2007 Handbook: Hernandez was the No. 3 prospect in the Marlins organization. BA praised his fastball (90-92 with a four-seamer that occasionally hit 94) and his ability to turn it up with men on base. But they noted he needed work on his curveball. The No. 9 prospect was Chis Coghlan and the No. 18 prospect was Matt Lindstrom, by the way.
2008 Handbook: Hernandez dropped to No. 6. But BA projected him to reach Florida that season and get a spot in the rotation. They noted that he has annually been one of the youngest pitchers at his level of the minors and that he had shown improvement in his changeup.
2009 Handbook: Hernandez is now the No. 21 rated prospect for Seattle, having been traded for Arthur Rhodes. BA says his curveball has improved along with his stamina and opines that he may have been putting too much pressure on himself to get to the majors.
But 2009 didn’t get him there. Hernandez was 10-9 with a 5.23 ERA for Triple A Tacoma, allowing 158 hits and striking out 98 over 146.1 innings. Hernandez was 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in the last week of the season and went undefeated in his final five starts.
Here’s what Theo Epstein told Amalie today:
“Decent scouting reports on him, and those reports pretty consistently indicate that if he’s ever available on the scrap heap to pick him up. Given his age and the way his arm works and the advanced levels at which he pitched, he has a chance for some upside down the line. … Sometimes it takes those guys a little bit longer when they’re facing tough competition at a really young age.”
Hernandez turns 24 in May. He has two options left and could join Junichi Tazawa, Michael Bowden, Randor Bierd and that crew in the Pawtucket rotation. For the cost of a waiver claim, it’s a decent gamble. Maybe John Farrell or PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur can find the one adjustment needed.
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