Sunday, March 10, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #13 Elier Hernandez

13. Elier Hernandez Outfielder

Age: 18
Position: OF 
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 200
B/T: R/R
Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent in 2011
From: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic

Paden Bennett (12):  I love Elier Hernandez.  There I said it.  The kid is 18 years old and stands at 6'3" and 200 pounds already.  Although Hernandez struggled in Idaho Falls last season to the tune of a .208 average, I really think this kid is going to get it.  Hernandez is a big kid with great bat speed and has the opportunity to be a plus in both average and power.  Really excited about this kid.

Joe Cox (19)Elier Hernandez makes the list at 13th based solely on upside.  Based on numbers alone the 18 year old outfielder from the Dominican Republic has not impressed, but almost any player will struggle in their first year of professional ball as a 17 year old.  Hernandez will be watched closely by Royals fans after being signed for $3.05 million in 2011, the third highest total for any international amateur player.  Hernandez already has a major league type body and should catch up to rookie ball soon.  Hernandez could very well be a budding star, but considering he has still yet to hit his first professional home run, it’s hard to gauge a player as young as Elier. 

Damion Mandalas (18): I had the privilege of watching Hernandez play on a few occasions this summer and while his results weren't overwhelming, the potential is obviously there. I remember one moment specifically, when Hernandez turned on an inside fastball and blasted the ball thirty feet over the left field fence. Unfortunately, the ball was also ten feet left of the foul pole. The body is obviously Major League ready and the bat speed is awesome. His poor results are very likely the result of playing competition that was on average four or five years older than him.

Defensively, Hernandez had a flair for the dramatic. Let me rephrase that, he really liked to make plays in a dramatic fashion. Several times over the course of one three game series he dove for balls. None of those times was a dive necessary and in only three of the instances did Hernandez make the play. The failed attempt led to an error and a big inning for the opposition. Nonetheless, there are a lot of things to like about Hernandez and with a strong season he should shoot up Kansas City's top prospects lists. 

Dan Ware (19):  I'll tell you straight up: keep an eye on this kid all season.  Elier, at 18, has the frame of a Major League player, standing at 6'3" and weighing 200 lbs, he has the potential of hitting above average for both contact and power as he progresses.  Hernandez can also run with good speed and has excellent quickness, which are vital attributes in the outfield.  Still a teenager, there is still no reason to rush him through the system, so it would be no surprise at all if Elier is back in Idaho Falls to start off 2013.

Total Points: 56

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