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rbandy95

Why the rush to say D Hernandez should be in the BP?

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As we all lament the state of the O's starting pitching, I do not understand the widespread sentiment on here that believes Hernandez belongs in the O's pen. He has improved at every level in the minors and has dominated in his short stint at AAA thus far. I realize he has to improve his pitch efficiency to succeed as a starter, but it's not like he has poor command or is walking a lot of people. He just seems to take a lot of pitches to finish off batters, maybe because he is trying too hard for the strikeout?

VaTech gave a glowing first-hand report of Hernandez the other night and swing-and-miss pitchers like this don't come around very often. Will he be next in-line after Bergesen? I don't know, but I think he absolutely deserves a chance to be a starter for the O's. I think he is going to evolve into a front-half of the rotation starter. If, down the road, the rest of our cavalry comes knocking down the door and clearly outperform him, then maybe he goes to the pen because we are loaded with #1 and #2 starters...but I'm not willing to bet the farm on that. For now, he is on the cusp of the bigs ahead of the more heralded members of the cavalry, and I'm ready to watch him get his shot. I think he is going to do surprisingly well.

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True, but his first start of the year he was on a 75 pitch limit so that outing is a bit of an outlier as far as pitching deep into games.

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Well, he's had two starts, and has lasted 4.2 and 4 innings.

I understand that pitch counts are an issue. But I watched the first game, and he showed very good stamina and was hurt more by bad luck and an tiny pitch limit than anything else.

He was touching 93-94 in the 5th inning of the game I watched.

According to VT he was very impressive in his next start.

I'm not reading too much into the 8.2 innings just yet.

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Its not a rush....Its how most scouts see him...In fact, I have yet to read anything from any kind of reliable source that feels he could and should be a starter in the majors.

His secondary pitches are inconsistent, his command isn't good and he doesn't get deep into games.

Reduce the amount of times he has to repeat his mechanics, go through a lineup, etc...and his stuff should get better and he should be that much better.

He sounds like a potential dominant reliever and that is needed in the majors.

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Its not a rush....Its how most scouts see him...In fact, I have yet to read anything from any kind of reliable source that feels he could and should be a starter in the majors.

His secondary pitches are inconsistent, his command isn't good and he doesn't get deep into games.

Reduce the amount of times he has to repeat his mechanics, go through a lineup, etc...and his stuff should get better and he should be that much better.

He sounds like a potential dominant reliever and that is needed in the majors.

SG, have you seen him pitch first hand? There are a few that have and suggest that he can become a reliable starter. Maybe you should go see him pitch and then you can make a honest evaluation of him. As far as secondary pitches go his slider is a plus pitch and according to BA the best in the system. And if you would of seen him pitch on MiLB.TV you would seen that.

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It's not a rush. Hernandez has been in the minors for 3-4 years. While he's certainly improved, he carries a track record of being sometimes dominant but usually very good for short stretches. His command, for the most part, has been spotty, and the reports are that he's mainly a two pitch pitcher (fastball/slider). I wouldn't discount him as a starter but he still profiles as a reliever at this point. There comes a time when you say "this is what he is". Not sure we've reached that point, but we have lots of starting candidates and Hernandez may be of more immediate need in the bullpen. Hernandez might be great in the old Sammy Stewart role for those who remember him.

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SG, have you seen him pitch first hand? There are a few that have and suggest that he can become a reliable starter. Maybe you should go see him pitch and then you can make a honest evaluation of him. As far as secondary pitches go his slider is a plus pitch and according to BA the best in the system. And if you would of seen him pitch on MiLB.TV you would seen that.

Who are those few?

And here is what BA said about Hernandez's slider(this is word for word from the BA prospect handbook this year):

His slider is a good pitch when its on, with a two plane break at times, but he's not consistent enough with it.

So yes, what I said is backed up by BA.

And no, I haven't seen him pitch...But I have read several scouting reports and analyzed his stats and the same conclusion keeps coming up. He has been in the minors for 4 full seasons...He is getting ready to turn 24...He isn't some young prospect...At this point, he likely is what he is.

BTW, also from the handbook:

Because he isn't comfortable with his complimentary pitches and likes to go for strikeouts, Hernandez tends to pile up big pitch counts with two and four seam fastballs and can wear down late in starts.
Edited by Sports Guy

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I think it is a rush to move DH to the bp.

His stuff has played up to every level and I think it is too early to conclude that the main things he has to work on - his control and a third pitch - can not be improved to the point where he could be an effective SP in the majors.

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I think it is a rush to move DH to the bp.

His stuff has played up to every level and I think it is too early to conclude that the main things he has to work on - his control and a third pitch - can not be improved to the point where he could be an effective SP in the majors.

I agree with this. I think you make a guy prove that he can't be a starter before you give up on him in that role. Hernandez is nowhere near that point yet imo.

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The quote from the BA handbook that SG cites is something VT didn't touch on, but should be noted from his last start. VT pointed out lots of foul balls, which is a bad thing. It's a similar issue that Kershaw has had when his FB wasn't at it's absolute best earlier this year. That is, once you get up to AAA/ML, Your FB has to be truly special to just throw by people, or it has to be paired with a very good secondary offering. DH is on the border with his FB. It's very good, but not consistently a 70 (for me). Rather getting locked into long battles with the hitter where he says "Hit this" and pounds plus FBs at the zone, he'll need to show he can put people away. Minor critique, but I haven't really seen it discussed or addressed here.

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We've to two kinds of pitching prospects. Pitchers and power pitchers. I would include Matusz, Bergesen, Patton, & Britton into this category. Patton & Matusz look to be pitchers who have 3 solid offerings and know how to pitch. Bergesen & Britton look to be extreme groundball pitchers who can be efficient and get deep into games.

Then we have power pitchers who get tons of strikeouts, tend to be flyball pitchers, in most cases lack an effective changeup, and whose command is somewhat inconsistent. Among these types we have Arrieta, Erbe, Hernandez, & Tillman. The light could go on for any of these guys and they could become frontline starter types. The command could improve or the changeup could develop. The question is this. How long do you leave these guys in the minors to figure this stuff out and when do you say that maybe they just fit better in the pen? With Erbe & Tilman being the youngest, I'd say they have more time on their side to figure things out. I'd give Arrieta this season to decide where he fits best. I could definitely see Arrieta being a power setup guy or even our closer as early as next OD. I could also see Hernandez playing an important bullpen role as well. Two or even possibly all three (longshot) of Bergesen, Patton, & Matusz, could be in the rotation. I could see Tillman & Erbe forming some deep depth at Norfolk next year. Hopefully Spoone comes back healthy this year and puts himself into the mix as well.

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Looking at Hernandez last season, he only averaged 5.22 IP/start. Against more patient hitters in the major leagues, that almost certainly would translate into less than 5 innings per start. He needs to show he can get deep into games on a consistent basis in order to be a major league starter.

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Looking at Hernandez last season, he only averaged 5.22 IP/start. Against more patient hitters in the major leagues, that almost certainly would translate into less than 5 innings per start. He needs to show he can get deep into games on a consistent basis in order to be a major league starter.

Well Adam Eaton can't even get to the 5th inning, so what do we have to lose by trying him out?

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Looking at Hernandez last season, he only averaged 5.22 IP/start. Against more patient hitters in the major leagues, that almost certainly would translate into less than 5 innings per start. He needs to show he can get deep into games on a consistent basis in order to be a major league starter.

I couldn't find any pitch count stats on Hernandez so I used TT's pitch count estimator. That formula gives DH a pitch count of 88 pitches per game. If that's true, the 5.2 innings/start is not important. 17 pitches/ inning is not great, but he's not laboring. If he's getting through 5.2 on 88 pitches (which seems likely considering how the Orioles don't allow their minor leaguers to run up high pcounts), then he should be able to get through 5 or 6 innings in the majors. That's not desirable, but he can build on it.

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