Cristian Hernandez SS
Age: 19 Years Old
Level: Class-A Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Joined the organization via: IFA Signing in 2021
2023 Stats: .221/.291/.298 4 HR, 4 2B, 2 3B, 13 SB, 27 RBI, 29 R
It’s odd to say that patience is running thin for a 19-year-old, but that’s the situation we find ourselves in with Cristian Hernandez. Going into the 2022 season he was ranked as a top-100 prospect in baseball after a season in the Dominican Summer League that saw him hit .285/.398/.424 with five homers and 21 stolen bases.
Unfortunately, in the following season he saw his numbers falter in Rookie ball as he went .261/.320/.357 with three homers and just six stolen bases in nine attempts. That didn’t prevent him from being promoted to Low-A Myrtle Beach this season though, with the hopes that he’d put it back together and start to earn the $3 million dollar signing bonus he earned in January 2021.
He’s been considerably worse this season than ever before. He’s played in nearly twice as many games as either of the previous seasons, and neither his OBP nor his slugging percentage are over .300. He has 10 total extra-base hits in 285 plate appearances and he’s striking out nearly four times as often as he’s walking.
That being said, the ceiling is incredibly high. MLB.com doesn’t have a single tool as less than a 50 future grade. They point out that his physical comparisons at the time of signing compared to Alex Rodriguez and Manny Machado.
There are so many opportunities for things to go wrong here. He’s already made his money, he’s never had a truly exceptional season stateside, he’s been aggressively bad this season, etc. But there are also so many chances for this to go right. He’s got the look, he’s got the tools, he’s just got to put it all together and he has plenty of time to do that because he’s still younger than just about every pick the Cubs made in the 2023 MLB Draft.