(Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (May 11, 2018 – Source: Victor Decolongon/Getty Images North America))
David Hernandez is a right-handed reliever for the Cincinnati Reds. He currently owns a 5.92 ERA, and his contract is coming up at the end of the year. He couldn’t even garner a bucket of baseballs for the Reds if they traded him, right? This may be true, but this does not make him completely useless for the Red Sox. He may be a diamond in the rough waiting to happen.
David Hernandez Might Be 2019’s Unluckiest Pitcher
Hernandez does have an abysmal 5.92 ERA, but his 2.47 FIP is very contradictory. He has a nice 3.69 K/BB ratio, and has only given up two home runs in 38.0 innings. But with his high hit rate (.274 opponents’ average and 9.5 hits per nine innings), one would figure he gets hit hard. Yet, ironically enough, that is not the case. He has an opponents’ exit velocity of 87.6 MPH (top 37% of the league), a hard-hit percentage of 33.0 (top 26% of the league) and a barrel percentage of 4.9 (top 13% of the league). He is good at getting soft contact, and he is not walking people at a high rate (3.1 walks per nine innings). Hernandez is not as bad a pitcher as his ERA suggests.
Example of Hernandez’s Bad Luck (St. Louis)
On April 28th, David Hernandez gave up three earned runs in one inning against the St. Louis Cardinals. The inning started with a double. But it was no regular double. The pitch (#4) was a fastball located here…and it was a routine fly ball. Unfortunately, center fielder, Jesse Winker lost it in the sun, and it was ruled a double because he did not touch it.
Hernandez got a flyout and a strikeout to follow that at-bat, so the inning should have been over already. But instead, Marcell Ozuna was intentionally walked, then Hernandez walked Harrison Bader. The next batter, Yadier Molina hit a 2-run single. But, it was on a slider located here… and it was hit at 65.2 MPH. It was just placed perfectly up the middle.
Example of Hernandez’s Bad Luck (Chicago)
Hernandez gave up two earned runs against the Cubs in 0.1 innings. The inning started with a 103.8 MPH single. Then, after a strikeout, he gave up a 67.9 MPH double that was perfectly placed between the third baseman and left fielder. It was on a pitch (#2) located here.He was then taken out before he could give up any of his own runs. The pitchers that came after him gave up a walk and a grand slam, so the pitchers that followed him did not help Hernandez at all.
Example of Hernandez’s Bad Luck (Pittsburgh)
This is a small example, but an example nonetheless. On April 5th, on David Hernandez, JB Shuck got on via a bunt. It was pure skill on the offensive side, and it was to no fault of Hernandez. The next batter got a sacrifice bunt, and the batter after that lined out. The manager brought in another pitcher, and he allowed Hernandez’s run to the following batter.
Why It’s the Perfect Time to Trade for Him
David Hernandez has been very good this year, it just hasn’t showed in ERA. The ball literally has not been bouncing his way. I think there is a low price on him due to his lack of run prevention. I’m not sure if the Reds realize the amount of bad luck that Hernandez has run into, so they may be more than happy to get anywhere close to a top 25 organizational prospect. But, in all likelihood, he is worth more than that. His FIP, hard-hit rate, and barrel rate point to him being a quality reliever.
The Red Sox should trade for him now while other teams don’t see the value in him. Hernandez should be running into better luck in the second half of the season, no matter what team he’s on.