11. Darwinzon Hernandez
Darwinzon Hernandez has always had the projection of someone that could be dominant on the mound. In 2018, those projections came true for the left-handed pitcher.
Hernandez posted a 3.53 ERA on the year, throwing 101 innings in Advanced-A and another six innings in Double-A. In those 107 combined innings, Hernandez struck out 134 batters and allowed only one home run on the year.
The fantastic stats are only part of the story as Hernandez has the stuff to back it up. His fastball is his best pitch, sitting in the mid-to-high-90s with lots of life. The 21-year-old also has a slider with a nice break on it that could turn into a strong pitch as well. He also has a changeup and curveball to round out a solid repertoire.
Hernandez started in all 23 appearances he made in Advanced-A but came out of the bullpen for all five with Double-A. That is more-than-likely just due to the fact that it was the end of the season. This gave Portland a better chance to see him in multiple outings as opposed to him making just one or two starts with the team. You should expect to see him in the starting rotation for the Sea Dogs next season.
That fastball is special. I saw Hernandez pitch in person and TV really doesn’t do it justice. That type of natural movement shouldn’t be allowed on a pitch hitting the high-90s. It can take him far, and if his other pitches develop more, Hernandez could become a major problem for hitters.
So far, the fastball has translated to every level and should always lead to high strikeout totals. That’s going to keep him in the conversation when talking about the best prospects in the Red Sox system. The fact that he’s clearly improving (2018 saw his best ERA since 2015) helps his case as well.
To this point in his career, opponents are hitting .223 with 10 home runs and 389 strikeouts against Hernandez in 352 innings. He’s dominated so far, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t continue that trend moving forward.