Shortstop Darell Hernaiz is in a hurry.
“He wants to be in the big leagues right now. He wanted to be there three weeks ago,” Double-A Midland manager Bobby Crosby said. “He knows he’s ready. He knows he can get there. He knows not to be scared to be a good big leaguer.
“He has that sixth tool where he believes in himself and knows he’s going to be good.”
And Hernaiz has been very, very good this year. He began the season playing for Crosby in Midland, where he hit .338 with an .879 OPS. He spent 71 games there before moving up to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Through 126 games at two levels, Hernaiz hit .324/.386/.463 with nine home runs and 13 stolen bases.
“He has really good contact skills,” Athletics farm director Ed Sprague said. “He hasn’t slowed down since April. He’s a very aggressive hitter. He sees the ball very well and he’s able to put the bat on it.”
The A’s acquired Hernaiz in a February trade with the Orioles that sent big league southpaw Cole Irvin to Baltimore. The Puerto Rico native had been a fifth-round pick of the Orioles out of Americas High in El Paso in 2019.
The big question Hernaiz faces had been whether he could stay at shortstop. Crosby, a former shortstop, believes he can thrive and called defensive development his “main focus.”
Crosby and Hernaiz would sit in the manager’s office, watch big league games and see how top shortstops would handle the position. Hernaiz would then take the lessons onto the field.
Both Sprague and Crosby are confident that Hernaiz could easily transfer his skills to either third base or second base, if that is where the A’s need him.
The 5-foot-11 righthanded hitter turned 22 in August.
“He’s still very young,” Sprague said. “He’s very competitive, very confident in his ability. He wants to be that best he can be, and he’s willing to do what it takes.”
— The A’s began instructional league with 50 players in camp in mid September. The plan is to play mostly intrasquad games, rather than do much traveling. Sprague said this gives the coaches more opportunity to work with players and add innings as needed.
— A’s minor league medical coordinator Nate Brooks was named athletic trainer of the year in the coordinator category by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. He is the first Oakland medical coordinator to win the award since Jeff Collins won it in 2014 and 2016. Collins is now with the big league A’s.