Grading the 2022 KC Royals: Pitcher Carlos Hernandez
The future looked bright for Carlos Hernández when, coming off the best of his two stints in the big leagues, he reported to the KC Royals’ spring camp last March with a rotation spot secured.
After 13 relief appearances, Hernández emerged from the Kansas City bullpen after the 2021 All-Star Break and won five of 11 starts, posted a 3.55 ERA and finished the season 6-2, 3.68. His work as a starter was good enough to outshine the rest of KC’s regular starters, none of whom performed as consistently well out of the rotation as he did .
It was also more than sufficient to lock down a role in what was expected to be a shaky 2022 Royals rotation.
Unfortunately, he did his part to make Kansas City’s one of the worst 2022 starting staffs in the majors. And he lost his spot in the rotation in the process.
How should KC Royals pitcher Carlos Hernández grade out for the 2022 season?
Hernández’s troubles began early—his ERA was 6.00 after four April starts before Baltimore slammed him for six runs in 4.2 innings May 9, Colorado battered him for nine in four innings May 14, and the White Sox scored against him three times in as many innings May 19; by then 0-3 with a 9.10 ERA as a starter, Hernández found himself in the minors the very next day.
The option to Triple-A Omaha was the first of three for Hernández during 2022 and he was out of the rotation for the rest of the campaign.
And he didn’t pitch particularly well out of the KC pen. He was 0-2 and posted a 5.47 ERA in 20 appearances; the two losses are acceptable for a reliever, the ERA isn’t. His overall record was 0-5 with an ugly 7.39 ERA.
Blame control for much of Hernández’s difficulty. He walked almost five batters per nine innings (4.98 BB/9), a rate attributable in no small part to the 30 batters he walked in 29.2 innings as a starter. His three-season big league BB/9—4.49—is worse than his five-year minor league 3.23.
Hernández, a fireballer whose four-seamer averaged almost 97 mph per Baseball Savant, and occasionally reached 100, is capable of better work than what he gave KC in 2022. Look for the Royals to try him again next season; if he returns to 2021 form, he might be a capable swingman for a club needing rotation and bullpen help.
For this season, though, we’ll give him a D+.
Carlos Hernández didn’t have a stellar season.