Outfielder Elier Hernandez was ranked by Baseball America as the Kansas City Royals 14th best prospect heading into the 2012 season. The yet-to-turn 18 year old Dominican did not sign until late in 2011. He signed for a whopping $3.05 million. He did participate in instructional league after signing.
According to international scouts, Hernandez has the best bat speed they have seen in recent years. His quick swing right now is more suited for line drives than homeruns. He still has work to do on pitch recognition and tapping into his above-average power potential.
Baseball America expected him to make his United States debut at the rookie-level Arizona League in 2012. Instead, the Royals pushed him to rookie-level Idaho Falls for the 2012 season (with alot of their college signees). Hernandez struggled mightily, as he hit just .208 with 66 strikeouts in 60 games (250 at-bats). He also didn’t hit any homeruns, though he did hit ten doubles.
Bob Dutton on the Kansas City Star ranked Hernandez at 11 and believes only Bubba Starling has higher potential. MLB.com has him coming in at 18th.
Will the Royals continue to push Hernandez (to Low-A Lexington) or will they hold him back and have him play at the rookie-level again in 2013?