A Look At One of the Most Overlooked Astros’ Prospects
In a farm system stacked with top prospects, Teoscar Hernandez seems to get overlooked quite a bit. The 21-year-old Dominican is amid a great group of young outfield talent in the Houston Astros’ farm system. It’s not hard for him to get overshadowed by players like George Springer (Houston’s 3rd best prospect, according to MLB.com), Delino DeShields Jr. (7th) and Domingo Santana (8th). Let alone former No. 1 overall picks Carlos Correa and Mark Appel. However, Hernandez is still ranked as the 13th best prospect in Houston’s farm system, according to MLB.com, and put up some solid numbers in High-A last season. He slashed .271/.328/.435 along with 13 homers and 55 RBI in 565 plate appearances in 2013. He also hit nine triples and stole 24 bases in 35 attempts.
Hernandez was signed as a non-drafted free-agent by the Astros back in February of 2011 for just $20,000. Three years later, that deal is looking like one heck of a bargain for Houston. Hernandez has the potential to develop into a solid five-tool player. I’m not saying he’s the next Mike Trout or anything like that, but he doesn’t have any real weaknesses in his game. He has a strong arm, possesses great speed to be a more than capable center fielder and generates superb bat speed with an aggressive swing.
Of course, that aggression in Hernandez’s swing leads to a lot of swing-and-misses – which promptly leads to a lot of strikeouts. He had a strikeout rate of of about 24% last season, but he makes enough contact for it not to be too much of a concern. To put it in prospective, George Springer had a higher strikeout rate than Hernandez in 2013 (about 27%) in split time between Double-A and Triple-A. It goes without saying that Springer is a much better player than Hernandez and has a lot more potential and a higher ceiling, but my point is that Hernandez’s game is impressive and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Hernandez is still very young and is still growing physically. If his physical growth causes him to lose some of his speed, he will likely be moved to a corner outfield position in the future. If that does indeed happen, he should have the tools to be an everyday player. He may not get all the attention and spotlight like other top prospects in the Astros’ farm system, but if he keeps up his stellar play don’t be surprised if you start hearing more about this kid in the future.