Red Sox Prospects: Darwinzon Hernandez

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Left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez is expected to begin his 2019 with Double-A Portland.  But that doesn't mean the 22-year-old Hernandez can't help the Red Sox at some point this season.  The Venezuelan is in big league camp for the first time in his career.  But Hernandez almost didn't choose baseball.  

You see, Hernandez loves soccer, or Futbol.  Soccer is a very popular sport in Latin America and he still has a strong fondness for the sport.  He toyed with the idea of potentially trying out for the Venezulan National team.  Thankfully for the Red Sox, Hernandez's mother intervened and was able to get her son into baseball.  Red Sox assistant General Manager Eddie Romero signed Hernandez and now he's moving up the system.

Photo courtesy of milb.com
Last season with in the Red Sox minor league system, Hernandez split time between Greenville and Salem.  The Red Sox bullpen has some holes coming into camp this season.  The Red Sox added Hernandez to their 40 man roster back in November.  The only other pitcher added to the 40 man roster this off-season was Colten Brewer.

Hernandez made his first appearance in 2014 in rookie ball.  As he has moved up the Red Sox system, he has never truly stayed in one spot for very long. The 6-foot-2 lefty features an upper 90's mph fastball, is a starter by trade but this off-season, Dave Dombrowski spoke with MassLive and stated "We're looking at him going into the season more as a starter."  There is the old saying, you can never have enough starting pitching.  While that is true, the Red Sox need is help in the bullpen.


2019 MLB Spring Training GearSo what does Hernandez offer to the Red Sox?  He features a fastball between 93-95 mph and has been clocked as high as 97mph.  He throws a curveball for which scouts indicate he has a strong feel.  One scout referred to Hernandez's curveball as "knee buckling".  He is still working on a changeup that can be clocked anywhere between 83-85 mph, and an extremely inconsistent slider.  He is young enough to continue and develop his secondary pitches.

While those pitches aren't fully developed, they've mixed well so far in the minors for Hernandez.  The lefty's frame has filled out quite a bit since he signed with the Red Sox in 2013.  His stuff projects more as a reliever, his fastball in the bullpen would allow the Red Sox an option for a hard throwing lefty in the later innings.  Once his secondary pitches develop, he can mix his pitches more effectively in his role and potentially serve as a 4th starter in the rotation in Boston.

One hindrance for Hernandez has been walks.  His inability to locate at times has been a worrisome problem for the south-paw.  Is he capable of a break out spring and make the Red Sox?  The answer to that question is more than likely no.  Alex Cora is trying to get the lefty a taste for the big leagues this spring.  Any young prospect will benefit from the exposure of a big league spring training camp.

The best case scenario for Hernandez is he is sent to Portland.  Sea Dogs manager Joe Oliver can utilize Hernandez in his starting rotation before his eventual call up to Pawtucket.  Hernandez could figure to be someone to occupy a spot in the rotation after this season.  He has a future in the big leagues, though we will have to wait until the summer before we see him again, but we will like what we will see.  In the meantime, the Red Sox need internal options in the bullpen and the lefty Hernandez could slot well into the pen in 2019.


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Boston Sports Syndicate: Red Sox Prospects: Darwinzon Hernandez
Red Sox Prospects: Darwinzon Hernandez
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