- Full name Runelvys Antonio Hernandez
- Born 04/27/1978 in Santo Domingo Centro, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 250 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Cesar Nicolas Pension
- Debut 07/15/2002
Organization Prospect Rankings
Kansas City hasn't signed a major leaguer out of the Dominican Republic since it got Carlos Febles in 1993. Hernandez is poised to break that string within a couple of years. After spending three seasons in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League, he made a successful U.S. debut last year. He spent the first two months in extended spring, impressing the Royals with how quickly he picked up English, before fitting right in at low Class A Burlington. All three of his pitches show potential. He has an 89-93 mph fastball, a curveball he can spin for strikes and a useful changeup. His command belies his youth, and he has a strong frame that should make him durable. Hernandez will move a step up to high Class A Wilmington in 2002.
Minor League Top Prospects
In just his second season in the U.S., Hernandez jumped from Class A through the Texas League to the big leagues. In part that was because he pitched so well, but it was also because he ages two and a half years in the offseason because of baseball's visa crackdown. So while the Royals thought he would start the season as a young 21-year-old, Hernandez actually turned 24 in April. But Hernandez showed the maturity befitting his actual age, moving up to Wichita after just two starts in the Carolina League. Managers were impressed with his fastball, which he throws 89-93 with good sink, and his slider. He became more comfortable with his changeup as the season went on, and it became an effective third option for him in the big leagues. The Royals called Hernandez up for an emergency start when they had a run of doubleheaders, but he pitched so well that he soon earned a permanent callup. He held his own in Kansas City but will have to sharpen his command to stay in the major league rotation next season.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Breaking Pitch in the Texas League in 2002