About a month ago I had the opportunity to watch the Idaho Falls Chukars play in several games. During that time I took some notes on several players, one of which was outfielder Elier Hernandez. So here are a few of my thoughts on the seventeen year old Dominican outfielder.
First off, Hernandez absolutely looks like a Major Leaguer. Despite being one of the youngest players on the Pioneer League circuit he offers one of the most advanced bodies. My only concern is that Hernandez looked a bit thick in the lower half. He isn't fat, but I can't imagine him as anything more than a corner outfielder.
Fielding wise, Hernandez wasn't exactly smooth in right field. On three occasions he either slid or dove to make catches and on only one of those attempts did he come down with the ball. The problem with each of these attempts is that in my opinion none of them were necessary.
Hernandez also struggled at the dish. He consistently was over aggressive at the plate and was extremely pull happy. At the same time, in the three games he did show flashes of the talent that led many in the industry to believe he was the top international prospect in last June's class.
Despite only getting the chance to observe Hernandez for a handful of games I saw his tools on full display. Several times he put pressure on the defense on routine grounders thanks to his speed and hustle. I also, saw an impressive arm from right field. Finally, the power and bat speed was on full display when Hernandez jumped on an inside fastball blasting it deep over the left field fence. Unfortunately the wind was incredibly strong that day and pushed the ball just foul.
In Hernandez's final at bat of the final game I watched him, I hammered one deep into the right-center field alley. It was kind of a poetic end to a series in which the raw but extremely talented Hernandez at times looked way over matched. Assigning Hernandez to the Pioneer League was without a doubt an aggressive assignment for the youngster, but in a few games he never looked out matched. It isn't hard to dream on Elier Hernandez.