- Rating: 2.69
- 2022 stats: 12 G, 28 AB, .083/.154/.083, -29 OPS+, 0.0 bWAR
- Date of birth: May 4, 1998 (24 years old)
- 2022 earnings: $146,148 (via Spotrac)
- 2023 status: DFA’d by the Diamondbacks in November 2022, claimed off waivers by the Oakland A’s.
I couldn’t find any information about whether Yonny Hernandez was considered an interesting prospect in the 2014 MLB international signings class, so I guess he wasn’t, but he got a nice signing bonus of $200,000 from the Texas Rangers indicating that the talent was definitely there.
At 16 years of age he embarked on a long journey to the major leagues. He spent two years in the Dominican Summer League, not hitting with much power, but with excellent OBP skills, as Makakilo would point out in his article on the Yonny Hernandez acquisition.
Those excellent OBP skills save Hernandez on each and every level in the minor leagues, where he doesn’t hit that much nor with any power, but continuously gets on base at an above average clip: his career OBP in the minor league stands at 0.388 at the moment of this writing.
Because of that strange havoc FanGraphs puts him in the 40 FV tier of Rangers prospects, with the possibility of becoming a bench bat with possible on base threat. That is how he debuts during the 2021 season and while his 0.315 OBP isn’t impressive, it is really close to being average.
However, with both Marcus Semien and Corey Seager signing for Texas in the 2022 off-season, the Venezuelan’s status on the 40-man roster is questioned ahead of possible roster squeezes. The Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers find each other in a low-level trade early April 2022, when the Diamondbacks are looking for a multi-positional infielder that can (temporarily) substitute the absence of Josh Rojas and Nick Ahmed. While Yonny Hernandez joins the Snakes, low-level prospect Jeferson Espinal heads the other way.
Makakilo writes a wonderful and hopeful article on Yonny Hernandez: will he establish himself in the majors?
Well, Captain Hindsight knows the answer to that.
Yonny Hernandez is assigned to Reno after joining the ranks of the Diamondbacks, but is soon called up to the major league roster when Drew Ellis, the first option at 3rd base with Alcantara to replace temporarily Josh Rojas, is optioned to Reno after hitting .125 over 3 games.
Hernandez too splits time with Alcantara at 3B, although he gets the lion share of playing time there between April 12 and April 21. The results are...well...:
His ISO is ridiculously low, as announced, but the Venezuelan also has a lot of problems in getting on base. He doesn’t strike out much, more or less average, but he also hardly takes a walk, which is supposed to be one of his better skills.
His BABIP in 2022 was .100, so he should be luckier and achieve a better OBP, but if you look at his hits and randomly watch his ground outs...the sensation is that everything could have easily been an out. His ground ball percentage was 63.6% and he is not even fast: his sprint speed is 36th percentile in the MLB.
I can’t embed these videos on here, so here are the links to his only hits for Arizona:
- Safe at 1B after Pete Alonso is not able to make a play on a sharp grounder.
- Barely runs out a grounder to 3B fielded by Erick Fedde.
- Reaches 2B on a fielding error after another ground out to 3B.
We can also offer these:
On the other hand, he was able to sporadically show a bit of his defensive skills, like on this play at the Nationals.
After coming on as a defensive replacement on April 21 to conclude the away series in Washington, Hernandez is optioned to Reno to make place for yet another 3B in Matt Davidson.
Hernandez makes a short return to the major league roster on May 18, as a COVID replacement, but goes hitless in 3 games in what would be his last stint for the Diamondbacks in the major leagues. He is sent back to Reno on May 21. He gets another call up late July but is optioned back a few days later without making an appearance.
He finishes the season in AAA, although he does so on the IL, where he is placed late August with a calf strain. He finishes the season in Reno with a .681 OPS: below average, even on the Yonny scale.
Early November the Diamondbacks announce that Yonny Hernandez has been claimed off waivers by the Oakland A’s. Jim McLennan calculates that after his departure, he’ll be the only position player with a negative OPS+ as a D-back and 25+ PA (beating my random D-Backs Josh Kroeger and Jerry Gil).
Yonny Hernandez was picked up by the Oakland A’s and that is a perfect team for the young infielder to be on in 2023. Except for Sean Murphy, the Athletics had no position player with a higher OBP than 0.307, so that is surely a bar Hernandez should be able to reach with his skills. And if he doesn’t, well, if he is not able to become a regular member on the 2023 Oakland A’s, he will probably not be a major league player anywhere.