Roberto Hernandez, a 16-year-old Cuban righthander who several scouts considered one of the better international pitching prospects available in the 2017 class, signed with the Indians for $320,000.
At 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, Hernandez has shown advanced command and feel for pitching for his age. He works off a fastball that parks in the low-90s and he throws it for strikes to both sides of the plate, with good arm action and the physical projection to potentially throw harder. He has a diverse array of secondary pitches, but his main offspeed pitches are a split-change with late tumble and a low-80s slider.
Hernandez was a prospect on the rise in Cuba at the time he left. He pitched well in front of scouts at the COPABE 15U Pan American Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico in 2015. Earlier that year, Hernandez led Cuba’s 15U national league in ERA (0.81) in 78 innings with 101 strikeouts and 31 walks. He finished second in the league in strikeouts.
The Indians add Hernandez to an international signing class that already includes Dominican outfielder George Valera, No. 5 on Baseball America’s rankings of the top 50 international prospects for July 2, 2017, and Venezuelan shortstop Aaron Bracho, the No. 17 prospect.