Hernandez was not very good after being traded from the Braves to the Pirates. This is hard to dispute. After moving from Mississippi (the Braves’ affiliate in the Double-A Southern League) to Altoona, Hernandez hit .262/.312/.340. He got caught stealing nearly as many times as he he succeeded, he made a bunch of errors in the field, and he didn’t hit. As far as five-tool players go, he really didn’t show any with the Pirates.
Still, he’s only 21 and it’s too soon to jump off of the bandwagon of the player with the best first name in baseball. He did hit better in August than any other month with Altoona (he went .293/.349/.379 with a better line drive percentage) and that’s encouraging. Right now his ceiling seems to be Nyjer Morgan, but that’s a substantially smaller insult from me than it would’ve been at this time last year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start 2010 out with Altoona again (the Pirates seem to be determined to keep players at the most difficult defensive positions and Tabata will be Indy’s opening day center fielder), but he’s still young enough that he can break out in Altoona or Indianapolis.
July 2010 Update: Don’t look now but Gorkys is on fire. After hitting just five doubles and no triples or homers in April or May, Hernandez has five doubles, four triples, and two homers in June and July. His BABIP is over .400 since June 1st but he’s a fast guy (16 steals in 19 tries) so the hope is presumably that he can keep sustain a high BABIP. He’s repeating Double-A, but he’s just 21 so there’s still time to rehab his prospect status with a big second half.
It’s interesting that he’s 21, because that’s the same age as both Marte and Tabata. But Tabata profiles for a bit more power and is obviously more advanced, while Marte is rawer because of less experience in the States. That doesn’t mean there’s no room for Hernandez in the organization, obviously, but unless he keeps hitting like he has he might find himself the odd man out.