What the Oakland A's have in Darell Hernaiz

Delmarva Shorebirds' Darell Hernaiz throws to first against the Salem Red Sox Tuesday, May 4, 2021,
Delmarva Shorebirds' Darell Hernaiz throws to first against the Salem Red Sox Tuesday, May 4, 2021, / Lauren Roberts/Salisbury Daily Times via

The Oakland A's clearly have a type these days.

As they began their rebuild, and continued through this offseason, the A's have targeted players that are close to the majors or high contact, toolsy, athletic players that could play a variety of positions. The latter describes Darell Hernaiz perfectly.

Darell Hernaiz could break out in Oakland A's system

Strictly based on the prospect rankings, Hernaiz appeared to be a disappointing return for Cole Irvin, especially when the A's added another minor league arm to the deal. He was the Orioles' 16th ranked prospect per MLB.com, an overlooked infielder in a system that is loaded up the middle.

At the same time, Hernaiz's production deserves a lot more attention than it received. Despite typically being quite young for his level, he has more than held his own. That was the case again in 2022 as he produced a .273/.341/.438 batting line with 12 homers and 21 doubles over his 452 plate appearances across three levels, stealing 32 bases.

Hernaiz has been lauded for his mature approach and burgeoning power at the plate, even if he is not necessarily going to be a 20 homer threat in the majors. His athleticism and high baseball IQ will allow him to remain at short, but he could easily handle second and third as well. He has also impressed with his leadership abilities despite his age, especially when he began the 2022 season back with the Delmarva Shorebirds after a strong showing there the previous year.

Chances are, he will begin the 2023 season back in Double-A. He has just 13 games of experience at the level, and at 21 years old, will still be fairly young for that degree of competition. A strong showing there may well lead to a promotion to Triple-A, although his ETA for the majors is likely to be in 2024. However, if he can continue to produce, Hernaiz is the type of player that could rocket up the prospect ranks and become a key piece of the A's future.

Darell Hernaiz may have initially appeared to be a somewhat disappointing return, but he is an intriguing prospect in his own right. He could play a solid part for the Oakland A's in the near future.

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