Teoscar Hernandez: Prospect Watch
Teoscar Hernandez was signed by the Houston Astros out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, for $20,000. That minor investment could wind up paying off huge for Houston in a year’s time.
Hernandez is a 22-year old minor league outfielder, who spent some time in Corpus Christi (Double-A) last season. His main position throughout his minor league career has been center field, but he has picked up a handful of games in right field as well.
According to MLB Pipeline, “Hernandez is a potential five-tool player with no real weaknesses. He generates excellent bat speed with a quick and aggressive swing. There’s some swing-and-miss in Hernandez’s game, but he makes enough contact to be a quality all-around hitter.” What’s even better, is Teoscar Hernandez is ranked as the Astros’ #11 prospect. When a potential five-tool player is your eleventh best anything, you’re doing something right.
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Hernandez spent most of the 2014 campaign in Lancaster playing with the Jethawks, but got called up to play with the Hooks for 23 games late in the season. The jump from A+ ball to Double-A caused a noticeable drop in his statistics. Lancaster saw a .294 average with 17 homers and 75 rbi. Add in his .376 on-base percentage and 31 steals, and the call-up was much deserved.
In Double-A, his batting average stayed up, but his on-base percentage took a nosedive. That dropped to .299, thanks in large part to his drawing just 2 walks compared to his 36 strikeouts. Pipeline did say he’ll swing-and-miss. His average held at a solid .284, and his home runs were coming at about the same pace (4 in 98 at-bats compared to 17 in 391 ABs).
Pipeline also had this to say of Teoscar Hernandez, “…has a strong arm and is a capable center fielder. He is still physically maturing, though, and if he loses a bit of speed as he fills out, he’ll likely need to move to a corner. Even if a position change does come to pass, Hernandez has the tools to be an everyday player.”
The obvious hope for the Astros is that Hernandez will be ready for 2016. My guess is that he’ll start in Double-A this season, but if he shows improvement early, he could be vaulted to Triple-A Fresno by June.
If all goes as planned, Teoscar Hernandez could be in Houston come opening day in 2016.