Carlos Hernandez has been fantastic for the Kansas City Royals Single-A affiliate and the team’s 13th best prospect has put everyone on high alert.
The Kansas City Royals could shortly find themselves with a very good problem. While most of the focus is on the fab-five of Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar, Kris Bubic, Daniel Lynch, and Jonathan Bowlan, the team has several other budding pitching prospects. It’s been painful to watch the big league club this season as I watch Jakob Junis give up a grand slam to Eloy Jimenez.
The future is certainly bright, for the pitching staff at least. Royals fans might have to endure one more season of incompetent baseball but both Singer and Kowar could make their big league debuts next season. However, Austin Cox is one guy that’s certainly received a lot of attention lately, but a lesser-known name is Carlos Hernandez.
Hernandez, 22, was signed for just $15,000 as part of the 2015-2016 international free agent class. He made 15 starts for Single-A Lexington last season and spun a 3.29 ERA while striking out 82 batters in 79.1 innings.
He broke a rib in spring training and made his first start of the season on June 21…with the Arizona Royals rookie league. Hernandez made 5 starts there and struck out 12 batters in 5 starts and moved up to Burlington where he made 3 starts. From there, he re-joined Single-A and made 7 starts to close out the season.
Hernandez was shaky at best with Burlington, allowing 12 free passes in 10.2 innings; however, he was terrific with Lexington tossing 36.0 innings, striking out 43 batters and allowing just 9 walks. He held opponents to a 0.250 batting average while spinning a 3.50 ERA.
He figures to start next season at High-A Wilmington but many scouts were projecting him to be a bullpen arm due to his command issues. Given what he’s shown in Single-A (32 walks and 125 K’s in 115.1 innings between 2018 and 2019), he could absolutely be the next kept secret for the future rotation.
Hernandez will turn 23 in March so he’ll need to advance through the minors quickly. He could definitely accelerate the pace as a bullpen arm as his pitching arsenal is filthy. MLB Pipeline projects him to be ready by 2021 and he cannot have any more setbacks.
That being said, Hernandez is a name Royals fans should pay attention to next season. Now to address the offense…