One of the toughest aspects of Fantasy Baseball to pin down is the ever changing landscape of the modern day pitching staff. With the win and quality start becoming more and more elusive, savvy owners are turning their attention to more creative ways to fill up categories. With this change many leagues are trending away from simply valuing the traditional starter/closer format and are beginning to place an emphasis on mid to late inning relievers more and more. I absolutely love leagues that score holds as a single category as they open up the player pool and the opportunity for strategy so much more.
It also makes guys like Braves prospect Daysbel Hernandez potentially valuable pieces in deep dynasty leagues like most of our readers participate in. Hernandez might not be the first name you’re looking for when you open up a Braves prospect list and you likely won’t see him near the top. I do consider myself the high man on him and honestly, number 25 in my midseason update might be a little low already. Not only is that because of this whole new world of reliever value, but also thanks to the righty’s potential.
The 22-year-old is a Cuban defector who pitched in his home country’s highest level before coming stateside. Atlanta was not conservative with him as his first outing was with High-A Florida before being sent to Single-A Rome in 2018. The Braves again opted to start Hernandez with Florida and he has impressed in 2019. Hernandez has pitched to a 1.77 ERA over his 45.2 innings while striking out 55 leading to a 10.8 K/9 on the campaign. Most appearances are also coming late in games which is exactly where the organization hopes he can be in the show.
Might not catch the eye right off the bat, but he should. Here’s one for you #Braves fans. Daysbel Hernandez is a 22 year old righty currently with Florida. High 90’s FB with a hybrid breaker. Exclusive bullpen arm. Leads ALL #Braves MiLB pitchers in swinging strike rate at 19%.
With all of the positive statistics it is only fair to point out my one and only concern, the control. Hernandez is walking 4.3/9 at the moment and it isn’t about trying to “figure out what’s wrong with him”. That’s just who he is. While his ability to locate his pitches does leave something to be desired, the stuff is good enough to make up for it. While it is just a two pitch repertoire, the fastball/slider combo has the potential to be a devastating weapon out of the pen. Hernandez lives around 96 and can touch 99 if he really reaches back for it. The fastball is made even better by the movement and complimented extremely well by the tight slider.
I see Hernandez as a promising bullpen option possibly as early as next season for Atlanta, maybe 2021 considering all the deadline movement. Worst case scenario, you have a guy who is pitching in low leverage situations that you can stash in case of injury. Best case scenario, you have an elite setup man racking up holds and strikeouts who is also the first option should his club’s closer go down. The ceiling is amazing if the control gets anywhere near league average.