RAUL HERNANDEZ, CATCHER
|Born: December 20, 1995
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2014, Pittsburgh Pirates
How Acquired: International Free Agent
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Hernandez signed at 18, which is a little on the old side for a Latin American prospect. He was signed as a defense-oriented catcher, but he hit well in his debut. His approach at the plate appears to be geared to making contact.
Hernandez had a good debut, not walking much but hitting for average, making contact and showing a little gap power. He split the catching duties with Mikell Granberry and Gabriel Brito, throwing out 46% of base stealers but also committing 17 passed balls in just 32 games.
The Pirates moved Hernandez up to the GCL, where he did about half the catching. He also filled in for one game with Bradenton. At the plate, Hernandez showed good strike zone judgment and some power, but overall he didn’t hit well. In early August, the Pirates did a lot of shuffling with their minor league catchers and, when they moved Christian Kelley up to Bradenton, Hernandez went to West Virginia. He started close to half the team’s games the rest of the season. He continued to show a good arm at all levels, throwing out 31% of base stealers in the GCL, four of 11 at West Virginia and one of two at Bradenton. He also cut his passed ball frequency in half.
Hernandez injured a hamstring during spring training and wasn’t ready to go until late June. After a handful of games in the GCL and at Bristol, he went to Morgantown, where he backed up Deon Stafford for about a month and a half. Late in the season the Pirates sent him to West Virginia, as both Arden Pabst and Brent Gibbs were hurt. Hernandez didn’t get a great deal of playing time and didn’t hit much when he did. At the four stops altogether he threw out 28% of base stealers.
Hernandez opened the season in extended spring training, then went to West Virginia in late April after Rafelin Lorenzo got hurt. He backed up Deon Stafford until late May, when he went out with another hamstring injury. Hernandez returned in early July, then played regularly in August, partly because Stafford missed some time and partly because he was hitting well enough to serve as DH when he wasn’t catching. Apart from the strong showing at the plate, Hernandez threw out half the runners who tried to steal on him.
Hernandez spent the season at Bradenton as the backup to Deon Stafford. He caught nearly half the time due to injuries to Stafford and he also saw a little time at first and as DH. He didn’t hit much but wasn’t completely hopeless. He threw out 30% of base stealers and had 15 passed balls, a high total.
Hernandez won’t be eligible for free agency for another year and likely will continue in a backup role.
|2021: Minor League Contract|
|Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2015
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2021
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2018
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|July 2, 2014: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.