The Miami Marlins lost 105 games in 2019 under the shadow of their latest rebuild. For this franchise, it seems, hope is eternally just over the horizon. But like many rebuilds, the dispiriting results on the field hid some areas of promise.
In the Marlins’ case, people buzzed about some of their young arms. Sandy Alcantara got everyone the most excited with his 2.3 WAR, followed by guys like Pablo Lopez and Trevor Richards who could be called “serviceable’” which is a compliment for what’s essentially a quad-A team. (Before you boo me, know that I’m an Orioles fan.) Caleb Smith and Jordan Yamamoto also got some interest.
Other teams noticed. The Rays acquired Richards and Nick Anderson in the middle of a playoff run. The Diamondbacks did the same with Marlins hurler Zac Gallen. Down in the minors, hitters like Jazz Chisholm and JJ Bleday get attention alongside pitchers like Sixto Sanchez (what a fantastic name!) and Edward Cabrera.
But not many people got excited about Elieser Hernandez. I can understand why they didn’t: he’s not a household name. The Astros signed Hernandez in 2012 just after their much-heralded change in regimes and leagues. He bounced around their minors for awhile before the Marlins snagged him in the 2017 Rule 5 draft. Unless your name is Johan Santana (or maybe Dan Uggla), no one’s going to get excited if you’re picked in the Rule 5 draft. Heading into 2018, John Sickels gave Hernandez a C+ grade and ranked him 22nd among the team’s prospects.
After joining the Marlins, Hernandez was unspectacular in the minor leagues, posting a 21% strikeout rate and 10% walk rate across three levels. He fared much worse on a major league mound, with a 15.9% strikeout rate and 9.5% walk rate alongside a .337 xWOBA in more than 65 innings. Those disappointing stats contributed to a similarly disappointing -0.5 WAR. Read the rest of this entry »