August 1, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Rockies catcher Ramon Hernandez (55) hits a single during the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Ramon Hernandez May Be the Perfect Mentor for the Royals

April 13, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Ramon Hernandez (55) reacts to a strike out in the third inning during a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

On a team with a collection of younger players, it helps to have a veteran or two around to help mentor those players. The prospects may well be the future of the franchise, but they need to learn how to be major league players somewhere along the line. Having a veteran presence can help make that transition from minor league prospect to savvy major league contributor a bit easier.

That presence is a part of what made James Shields as valuable as he has been for the Royals. With the young bullpen and prospects such as Yordano Ventura and Kyle Zimmer on the cusp, Shields can help show them how to prepare and go about their business on the mound, even if it is only in Spring Training this year. If the Royals are able to extend him, that mentorship ability may be a factor. In fact, that potential to mentor younger players may be part of why the Royals signed veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez to a minor league contract earlier today.

Although Salvador Perez has spent approximately a season and a half in the majors, and has already won a Gold Glove award and been named an All-Star, he is still just 23 years old. Having a veteran catcher such as Hernandez, who has not only been an All-Star himself in the past, but a decent defensive catcher, can only help. Perez would be able to learn how Hernandez works with the pitching staff and could potentially pick up tips about opposing hitter and preparing for the day’s matchups.

Regardless of whether or not Ramon Hernandez makes the Royals roster to start the season, his presence may be felt more in how the other catchers perform and go about their daily business. Hernandez could almost be another coach, whether or not he is in Kansas City or in Omaha to start the year. Even if he is spending his time in Omaha, he can help develop Francisco Pena from the raw talent he is into a player who might be a viable major league backup.

Signings such as Ramon Hernandez typically fly under the radar, but a veteran leader like Hernandez can help in ways that may not show up in the box score. His signing is not going to break the Royals payroll, and may pay off down the road as Perez continues to develop. That is the type of investment that winning teams make.


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Tags: Kansas City Royals Ramon Hernandez

  • jimfetterolf

    Good piece. I think you nailed Dayton Moore’s thinking.

  • moretrouble

    With all due respect to the author, I don’t believe Salvador Perez needs any mentoring from another catcher. Does he need to learn to be a better English speaker? Yes. Does he need to see his family from time to time? Yes. Does he need any help learning how to catch in the MLB? No.

    • Ardent Shepherd

      You’re telling me a 23 year old catcher knows more about playing his position in the MLB than a 37 year old veteran? Are you kidding me? I agree with Mr. Hill, he will be a great help to a very YOUNG catcher, regardless of how well Perez can play now, he will be better with more veterans around him. You’re pretty much saying “Perez is so good he doesn’t need coaching.” If that were the case, this 23 year old would already be on Hall of Fame trajectory. smh

      • moretrouble

        Yeah, he’s that good.

        • KCMOWHOA

          Agreed. He seems to have it down. I still can’t believe they got rid of Kottaras. Whenever Salvy gets a rest, the catcher’s position will be null in the batting lineup.

          • augustoperez

            That is why you have pinch hitters. Also, catchers tend to clog up the basepaths, so when you switch them it is usually around a scoring opportunity. A good defensive catcher who can handle a pitching staff is such a rare commodity that some good ones have played into thier forties. Kottaras was a decent hitter, but Hernandez is an upgrade behind the plate.

          • KCMOWHOA

            Agreed, but a backup catcher that can get on base is an asset we could use. Is there any guarantee Hernandez even makes the team? What about Hayes?

          • augustoperez

            In MLB there are no guarantees. He’s still a former all-star and probably a better player than Hayes.

          • KCMOWHOA

            Alright, we’ll see. I really expect to see Hayes on the bench but stranger things have happened.