- Full name Brayan Hernandez
- Born 09/11/1997 in Rio Chico, Venezuela
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 175 / Bats: R / Throws: R
Organization Prospect Rankings
Hernandez was one of the more sought-after international prospects in 2014, when he signed with the Mariners for $1.85 million. He struggled in the Dominican Summer League in 2015, which led the Mariners to end his switch-hitting experiment. Seattle traded him and three others to the Marlins in July 2017 for David Phelps. A career .260 hitter with a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, Hernandez must continue to improve at the plate, especially when it comes to using the entire field and making solid contact against quality offspeed pitches. He has a level swing and generates solid bat speed with a knack for making contact, but he hasn't produced much power in his career. That power could still materialize for Hernandez, who is 20 years old and still has projection left in his athletic frame. He could become a plus defensive center fielder with a strong arm. He shows good natural defensive instincts, while his plus speed plays up in the outfield and on the basepaths. Hernandez should get his first extended look in full-season ball in 2018, where he will flash all five tools but requires significant refinement.
The Mariners signed Hernandez for $1.85 million as a 17-year old in 2014 but received disappointing early returns in 2015. As such, the Mariners ended his switch-hitting and had him bat only from his natural right side starting in 2016 and saw an uptick in performance and confidence. Hernandez ranked among the Dominican Summer League leaders in extra-base hits and steals when the Mariners moved him to the Rookie-level Arizona League. He continued to perform in the AZL, hitting .285 and starting in right field for the Mariners team that won the league title. Hernandez has a pure swing from the right side that allows him to make solid, consistent contact, though he doesn't generate much power. He is a plus runner with a plus arm, allowing him to play either center field or right if necessary. He has a chance to be a plus defender in center. Opposing scouts doubt Hernandez will hit for enough power to stick in a corner, but the Mariners believe he may develop average power over time as he matures physically. He sometimes gets too pull-happy in his approach and has trouble with offspeed pitches but could grow out of those traits with experience. Hernandez will begin 2017 in extended spring training before heading to short-season Everett.
In a disappointing Dominican Summer League debut, Hernandez only showed flashes of the potential that led the Mariners to sign him for $1.85 million as a 17-year-old in July 2014. They believe much more is on the way. The switch-hitter, who is more advanced from his natural right side, hit a walk-off homer against the Astros affiliate in July, and showed plenty of range and instincts in center field. However, he was often overmatched at the plate where and showed a lack of plate discipline. Hernandez has a simple swing from both sides of the plate with plenty of bat speed that should translate into more power as he fills out his athletic, 6-foot-2 frame. He's a plus defender in center field and uses easy, above-average speed to track down flyballs. A below-average arm is his only defensive weakness. The Mariners have reason to think that Hernandez has much more in the tank as a hitter--he hit a few home runs at Safeco Field during batting practice after signing--and will likely ease his development by keeping him in the DSL next season.
Hernandez was considered one of the best hitters and athletes available in the 2014 international signing class, though a shoulder injury limited his throwing and kept him from switch-hitting during the leadup to the opening of the signing period on July 2. The Mariners signed him for $2 million. Hernandez showed no long-term effects from the injury and was once again swinging lefthanded during instructional league. His swing is pretty simple from both sides. He doesn't have a significant load before coming through the zone with a level swing that stays in the zone a long time. Scouts have more questions about Hernandez's power potential. He has strong wrists, but like many teenagers he'll need to fill out further to develop even average power. Hernandez is a tick above-average runner with an athletic build. He likely will start his career in center field, where his solid reads and routes should allow him to stick even if he slows down a little as he fills out.