With Tom Gordon looking 60 instead of 40, he’s been moved to the 15 day DL and the Phillies have called up Yoel Hernandez, a minor league veteran reliever. Let’s take a look at Hernandez and see if he can provide any value to the big league club.
I didn’t give Hernandez a grade in my Prospect Grades feature, mainly because he isn’t really a prospect. Hernandez was signed waaaaay back in 1998 as a free agent, and has been pitching in the Phillies organization since 2000. I believe he was added to the 40 man roster prior to the 2005 season, though he didn’t crack the majors at all. Thus, with this being 2007, having cleared waivers and been placed back in AAA, he’ll have to clear waivers again if he’s sent down. Maybe this is his only chance, who knows. Now 27, he’s got a shot to make a name for himself. He’s a basic fastball slider changeup guy, 90-92 with his fastball (last I remember), and his secondary pitches are average, his slider maybe a tick above. Let’s look at his last three seasons, which were spent mostly in Reading and Scranton.
2004, age 24 (AA/AAA): 62 IP, 4.21 ERA, 9.00 H/9 — 3.19 BB/9 — 7.40 K/9 — 0.58 HR/9
2005, age 25 (AA/AAA): 74.2 IP, 3.64 ERA, 8.85 H/9 — 4.00 BB/9 — 8.98 K/9 — 0.73 HR/9
2006, age 26 (AAA): 10.1 IP, 1.78 ERA, 9.80 H/9 — 3.56 BB/9 — 7.13 K/9 — 0.00 HR/9
2007, age 27 (AAA): 7.1 IP, 3.68 ERA, 8.87 H/9 — 1.27 BB/9 — 3.80 K/9 — 0.00 HR/9
Neither 2006 nor 2007 tell us anything helpful. Hernandez was hurt last year, I believe in one of Cole Hamels’ starts, and didn’t pitch again during the season. His 2007 numbers are a really small sample. However, if you look at his 2004 and 2005, that really tells you all you need to know. He gives up about a hit per inning, walks too many hitters for a relief pitcher, and has decent strikeout stuff, while keeping the ball in the park, for the most part. As a 6th inning reliever, he’ll be ok, though I’d like to see Rosario get those innings, namely because he has much better pure stuff than Hernandez.
Ultimately, Hernandez is on the 40 man roster and has an option, so this move helps Gillick and his ever enduring quest for “flexibility”…..but don’t expect Hernandez to blow the roof off the place. Let’s just hope he isn’t put in a position to blow through leads late in games.