Marco Hernandez, shortstop, 6-0, 170
Signed as international free agent in 2009
Probable 2014 landing spot: High-A Daytona
Rule 5 eligible already
When Marco Hernandez joined Peoria (Low-A) for the 2012 season, Javier Baez was held back in Extended Spring Training. Feel free to re-read that sentence a few times. Just as Hernandez was starting to hit after a horrible early-season slump, Baez was summoned, and Hernandez went back to Mesa.
Hernandez had a decent year in Boise, hitting .286 with an OPS of .726. In one of those things I look at, and few others do. the numbers were very similar to his Dominican Summer League numbers. In his only DSL season (most prospects only need one year there), he hit .286 and OPS'd .736. At some point, when I get enough valid data points, I might have an idea what should be expected when a player goes from the DSL to the Midwest League with a year of compound ball in between. His OPS was .625 in Kane County last season, but his glove had him mentioned as a possible Rule 5 pick. Remember when the Cubs had a system-wide vacuum at shortstop?
I saw Hernandez homer in Burlington, and it was the only run of the night. He timed up something inside, and sent it over the left-field wall. Far too often, in both seasons I've seen him live, he lines up defensively on the outfield grass. He generally makes the play, but at some point, I wish he'd position himself on the infield dirt.
Hernandez is another in the line of "wrong decade" guys for the Cubs. I could easily see a player like Hernandez making the jump, as at least a utility guy on the big club, with many squads. However, with Starlin Castro, Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, and others positioning for gigs with the parent club, Hernandez had better hit better, or hope to go elsewhere.
And play on the dirt, please.