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Eric-OH

Minor League Thought of the Day 3/22-Where Does Darell Hernaiz Start 2020

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While looking at lists and wondering about topics that aren’t worth discussing I started looking at a few players and wondering where they’d begin the 2020 season.  A guy I’ve watched from the Gulf Coast League’s outset is infielder Darell Hernaiz.  Not only do I like him, he’s got a great attitude and personality, I’m very impressed with him as a player and especially one with only a handful of games played as a professional.  

My videos have shown that he’s a quick and athletic mover with spring from his feet and power behind his growing upper body.  Bat and glove work is impressive on the daily and his outlook is happy.  The coaches and his teammates challenge him and it ups his performance.  Drill, game situation, warm-ups, cage, etc....Darell ‘Barrel’ Hernaiz fits in so well for someone not even 20 that it’s already a credit to the O’s front office for finding a moldable piece of baseball clay.  

But which affiliate should pencil him into their opening day lineup and how do we find that answer?  Hernaiz again has only played one season as a pro and each of his 99 At-bats were against rookie league arms.  He hit .263 and popped a pair of homers to go with a pair of doubles.  Added in 20 runs, 5-5 steals and 17 walks and it’s a nice debut.  Stats say he should move on up and let someone else start their climb from Sarasota upward.

Also I’ve watched his body change somewhat significantly and show results in the short term.  When I saw him initially in July of 2019 he looked every bit of his listed 165 lbs.  Wiry, wristy but strong is how I’d describe his frame.  This spring, he’s thicker across his shoulders and his hips.  Not big, just slight mass where there was none.  Forearms are bigger and more evident and his contact louder with the ball ending up straighter or farther away. Not a complicated observation but something to note as he’s already making significant and apparent progress early on in his development.  I’d bet he’s up to around 178-180 range right now and working out everyday while eating a ton to ensure more lbs.  

What about his competition at potentially Aberdeen or Delmarva?  And what position should he play?  Is he a shortstop or a second baseman?  
I’m going to say that I saw him show elements of both, but I’d put his skill set/bat combo at second.  Also, he’s born within the same few weeks as Gunnar Henderson and Gun gets first dibs at SS if I’m picking spots.  If both Darell and Gunnar aren’t on the same affiliate and Hernaiz is a SS where he lands I’m ok with it, but my preference is wherever the club thinks he’d end up on a big league diamond is where he should get chances in the minors.  Yet another deciding factor.  To me, not seeing much of Jean Carmona at camp, he’s not much of a factor either,  hopefully I’m completely wrong. 
But Joey Ortiz and his skill set+college level dominance IS a factor and the Ortiz vs Hernaiz battle starting in earnest can work out well for all involved.  Ortiz is on the IronBirds right now, listed as SS as is Jean Carmona.  There’s one 2B and that’s Alexis Torres.  Torres has pedigree being a 5th round choice, but his draft was in 2016 and he’s made not much progress since then.  So perhaps Darell can slot into that grouping as an infielder.  Delmarva would represent a significant jump after only 99 pro at-bats and they have Adam Hall listed as SS today backed up by Andrew Fregia and Ryne Ogren at 2B.  Hall’s the starter and heavy AB guy but that’s not an uncrackable rotation for someone bumped up from a level below....maybe Carmona?  Clay Fisher batted .217 at Aberdeen in his pro debut with a Strikeout:Walk ratio of 45:7 so perhaps not the guy to shuttle up and make room for a higher pick with pedigree like Darell.  Then there’s Carlos Baez who’s about to be in his 6th year in the organization and truly has showed me he’s ready to move up from rookie league for good.  So, does Darell play 2B at Aberdeen or 2B/SS at the GCL one more round as he turns 19 in early August?  

Now that I’ve laid out some circumstances behind the decision I’d love to know what you think and why.   
If I’m choosing, I’d find a way to reward his start and his skills with a spot at Aberdeen.  Delmarva soon, but not week 1 of the minor league season. I’d expect some adversity and some improvement similar to his debut .  I’m most confident in the constant improvement and Darrel being a highly motivated athlete maximizing his chances.  He did what he was supposed to do in year one and also showed up ready to compete in spring of year 2 with focus and a team first attitude.  Also, he’s got a chip on his shoulder thinking the 5th round was too late for him.
 I know the calendar is unorthodox but where does he play?

6E34785B-B65E-4BD3-9B3E-C5B39C996190.png

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Unlikely but I had Henderson at 3B, Hernaiz at SS, and Ortiz at 2B all at Delmarva. Carmona back at Aberdeen.  

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I would have responded sooner but the bigger question of whether there will be a season at all is more important than where Hernaiz plays.    Personally I’d guess he’ll start at Aberdeen.   The difference between “full season” and “short season” will be less pronounced this year since the “full” season will be significantly less than 140 games.    

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19 hours ago, Frobby said:

I would have responded sooner but the bigger question of whether there will be a season at all is more important than where Hernaiz plays.    Personally I’d guess he’ll start at Aberdeen.   The difference between “full season” and “short season” will be less pronounced this year since the “full” season will be significantly less than 140 games.    

That’s a good point about season length.  I’d also lean towards the Ironbirds to get his climb upwards started this year too.  
Every single part of me recognizes a need to adjust to the circumstances we’re facing, but when I think about baseball not moving forward it doesn’t make sense. I’m also supposed to write about the minors whenever I can and as much of a priority that’s always been for me, I do realize others have much more important real-life things to worry about.  I worry about Darell Hernaiz’ development....that’s me.

 I have no clue if there will be any opportunity for guys like him to measure themselves against others in this calendar year.  That’s hard for me to grasp.  

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On 3/25/2020 at 9:58 AM, RZNJ said:

Unlikely but I had Henderson at 3B, Hernaiz at SS, and Ortiz at 2B all at Delmarva. Carmona back at Aberdeen.  

I wish I could have seen Carmona once during my time at camp just to build a profile.  I didn’t and his name will have to stay circled on my list.  
That would be a strong infield but I only saw Gunnar at 3rd in drills about 5-10% of the time.  Right now Ortiz’ arm is more ready from the hole and with relays so he’d get a SS nod over Darell who practiced at both 2nd and SS.  
I could see the group batting 2,3,4 in an order however with Ortiz’ hit tool centered between Darell’s on-base skill set and Gunnar’s developing pop.

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15 hours ago, MountUrCastle said:

start him high, you can always readjust later

I like the way you think but wouldn’t do it that way.  You’re a fast tracker!
Confidence is touchy with these younger players and I’d prefer to have a player motivated to prove doubters wrong than one in over his head because they can’t perform.  As I see it, that underperformance is adversity to respond to, but early during development I’d want a player to very rarely doubt themselves. Talking to Darell, I can verify that he’s highly motivated and seems like a player who will adjust, improve and take coaching.  He’s still so young though so it’s a difficult balance.  

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On 3/25/2020 at 3:18 PM, Frobby said:

I would have responded sooner but the bigger question of whether there will be a season at all is more important than where Hernaiz plays.    Personally I’d guess he’ll start at Aberdeen.   The difference between “full season” and “short season” will be less pronounced this year since the “full” season will be significantly less than 140 games.    

That's a pretty good point. Depending on when the minor league season starts back up, it very well may not matter where he starts.

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1 hour ago, Tony-OH said:

That's a pretty good point. Depending on when the minor league season starts back up, it very well may not matter where he starts.

And maybe still another potential difference in scheduling, 7 inning doubleheaders.  When I saw that it made me think back to the split days in the GCL sun. 

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On 3/22/2020 at 4:12 PM, Eric-OH said:

While looking at lists and wondering about topics that aren’t worth discussing I started looking at a few players and wondering where they’d begin the 2020 season.  A guy I’ve watched from the Gulf Coast League’s outset is infielder Darell Hernaiz.  Not only do I like him, he’s got a great attitude and personality, I’m very impressed with him as a player and especially one with only a handful of games played as a professional.  

My videos have shown that he’s a quick and athletic mover with spring from his feet and power behind his growing upper body.  Bat and glove work is impressive on the daily and his outlook is happy.  The coaches and his teammates challenge him and it ups his performance.  Drill, game situation, warm-ups, cage, etc....Darell ‘Barrel’ Hernaiz fits in so well for someone not even 20 that it’s already a credit to the O’s front office for finding a moldable piece of baseball clay.  

But which affiliate should pencil him into their opening day lineup and how do we find that answer?  Hernaiz again has only played one season as a pro and each of his 99 At-bats were against rookie league arms.  He hit .263 and popped a pair of homers to go with a pair of doubles.  Added in 20 runs, 5-5 steals and 17 walks and it’s a nice debut.  Stats say he should move on up and let someone else start their climb from Sarasota upward.

Also I’ve watched his body change somewhat significantly and show results in the short term.  When I saw him initially in July of 2019 he looked every bit of his listed 165 lbs.  Wiry, wristy but strong is how I’d describe his frame.  This spring, he’s thicker across his shoulders and his hips.  Not big, just slight mass where there was none.  Forearms are bigger and more evident and his contact louder with the ball ending up straighter or farther away. Not a complicated observation but something to note as he’s already making significant and apparent progress early on in his development.  I’d bet he’s up to around 178-180 range right now and working out everyday while eating a ton to ensure more lbs.  

What about his competition at potentially Aberdeen or Delmarva?  And what position should he play?  Is he a shortstop or a second baseman?  
I’m going to say that I saw him show elements of both, but I’d put his skill set/bat combo at second.  Also, he’s born within the same few weeks as Gunnar Henderson and Gun gets first dibs at SS if I’m picking spots.  If both Darell and Gunnar aren’t on the same affiliate and Hernaiz is a SS where he lands I’m ok with it, but my preference is wherever the club thinks he’d end up on a big league diamond is where he should get chances in the minors.  Yet another deciding factor.  To me, not seeing much of Jean Carmona at camp, he’s not much of a factor either,  hopefully I’m completely wrong. 
But Joey Ortiz and his skill set+college level dominance IS a factor and the Ortiz vs Hernaiz battle starting in earnest can work out well for all involved.  Ortiz is on the IronBirds right now, listed as SS as is Jean Carmona.  There’s one 2B and that’s Alexis Torres.  Torres has pedigree being a 5th round choice, but his draft was in 2016 and he’s made not much progress since then.  So perhaps Darell can slot into that grouping as an infielder.  Delmarva would represent a significant jump after only 99 pro at-bats and they have Adam Hall listed as SS today backed up by Andrew Fregia and Ryne Ogren at 2B.  Hall’s the starter and heavy AB guy but that’s not an uncrackable rotation for someone bumped up from a level below....maybe Carmona?  Clay Fisher batted .217 at Aberdeen in his pro debut with a Strikeout:Walk ratio of 45:7 so perhaps not the guy to shuttle up and make room for a higher pick with pedigree like Darell.  Then there’s Carlos Baez who’s about to be in his 6th year in the organization and truly has showed me he’s ready to move up from rookie league for good.  So, does Darell play 2B at Aberdeen or 2B/SS at the GCL one more round as he turns 19 in early August?  

Now that I’ve laid out some circumstances behind the decision I’d love to know what you think and why.   
If I’m choosing, I’d find a way to reward his start and his skills with a spot at Aberdeen.  Delmarva soon, but not week 1 of the minor league season. I’d expect some adversity and some improvement similar to his debut .  I’m most confident in the constant improvement and Darrel being a highly motivated athlete maximizing his chances.  He did what he was supposed to do in year one and also showed up ready to compete in spring of year 2 with focus and a team first attitude.  Also, he’s got a chip on his shoulder thinking the 5th round was too late for him.
 I know the calendar is unorthodox but where does he play?

6E34785B-B65E-4BD3-9B3E-C5B39C996190.png

https://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/bs-sp-orioles-darell-hernaiz-workout-20200604-hklxsxc4bbfe5ggt7meru4auvy-story.html

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