Venezuelan born right-hander Cristian Hernandez has begun to earn recognition as one of the Phillies most promising pitching prospects.
Signed as a 16-year-old in 2017 for a reported $120,000, Hernandez got his professional career started the following summer as a starter for the Phillies' Red Dominican Summer League club. There, in 13 starts, Hernandez tallied a 2-3 record with 2.57 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP as well as a 7.0 K/9 mark.
An injury sidelined Hernandez in 2019 and the 2020 season was cancelled due to the global pandemic.
In 2021, Hernandez saw his first regular season action in the United States, starting his season in Florida Complex League. After two appearances there, the six-foot-three 185-pounder was promoted to the Class A Clearwater Threshers. In 20 combined outings (17 starts), Hernandez notched a 2-7 record with a 3.57 ERA, a .228 batting average against and an 11.2 K/9 mark.
Projectability is something that baseball folks like about Hernandez. His size, consistent mechanics along with a fastball that continues to improve are key factors there. Velocity that reaches 97 MPH along with a nice, sweeping slider and a change up that he is looking to refine make up the youngsters repertoire.
His role in the future could hang on whether or not the Phillies' developmental staff feels the change up sticks as a formidable offering. A two-pitch menu, of course, would be better suited for a reliever.
Look for Hernandez to open the 2022 campaign with Class A Advanced Jersey Shore, with a path to Double-A on the horizon, if he can continue to shine as he did last year.
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