When evaluating a young pitcher, or really any pitcher, the one question that often comes up is "does he miss bats?" Does the pitcher strike hitters out or does he rely on his defense to generate outs? David Hernandez is a pitcher that will strike batters out. In his final regular season start, Hernandez struck out an absurd 18 Winston-Salem batters and on the season he fanned 168 batters in 145.1 innings over 27 starts.
Hernandez, 22, was taken in the 2005 17th round out of Consumnes River JC in Sacramento and has put up big K numbers ever since, striking out over a batter per inning in Aberdeen in his pro debut in 2005 before doing the same last season at Delmarva. He improved quite a bit on his already lofty totals, fanning 14 more batters in just 1/3 of an inning more.
Hernandez has control problems, though perhaps not quite as acute as Radhames Liz or others in the system. His pro BB/9 rate is a high but not unmanageable 3.66, but he also has 34 wild pitches and has hit 21 batters in the past two seasons. Add that to a fly ball tendency (16 HR allowed) and a 4.95 ERA (skewed by some lousy luck on balls in play) and it's easy to see the reason for tempered enthusiasm. Even so, you'd have to think that a guy who can record so many outs without the use of his defense will have a role in the majors somewhere.