Ronaldo Hernandez
21-Year-Old CatcherC
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Of the top power-hitting catchers in the minors, Hernandez is the best bet to also hit for a relatively high average. He ranked second in the Midwest League in home runs (21), fifth in ISO (.210) and eighth in wRC+ (133) -- production that looks all the more impressive considering he had the 12th-lowest K% (15.4) in the league and did all this as an age-appropriate catching prospect. The only concern with Hernandez is whether his defense proves good enough for the Rays, who value catcher framing as much as any team, to someday give him the bulk of the starts behind the dish. His 70-grade arm is more than enough to control the running game, and he is a good game caller, but he needs to improve as a blocker and framer. Those defensive issues will lead to a gradual ascent up the organizational ladder, so don't expect to see him in the majors until 2021 or 2022. If his defense gets up to scratch, Hernandez could hit .260 or .270 with 25-plus home runs annually. Read Past Outlooks
Pacing Midwest League with 18 home runs
CTampa Bay Rays  A
August 9, 2018
Hernandez leads the Midwest League with 18 home runs in 374 plate appearances this season.
ANALYSIS
This would be an impressive feat for any catching prospect in a full-season league, given that he plays less often than players at other positions. It is particularly impressive considering Hernandez is also hitting for a high average (.287) and not striking out much (15.5 percent strikeout rate) in his full-season debut. He has one of the best arms among minor-league catchers, and is expected to be able to stick at the position long term. Hernandez has emerged this season as one of the best catching prospects in the game. He is on track to reach the big leagues around 2021.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Ronaldo Hernandez
Minor League Barometer: Making Their Mark
229 days ago
Jesse Siegel delivers his analysis of the minor leagues heading into the MLB Draft.
Farm Futures: MiLB Hitter Awards
August 31, 2017
James Anderson gives his list of the most impressive performers (and biggest disappointments) in full-season leagues this year, headlined by Braves phenom Ronald Acuna.
Farm Futures: Short-Season/Rookie Hitter Index
June 29, 2017
James Anderson provides a glimpse into the next wave of top prospects about to begin play in Rookie and short-season A-ball, including teenage Braves phenom Kevin Maitan.
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Hernandez is essentially where Keibert Ruiz was a year ago, and now Ruiz is the top fantasy catching prospect in the game. A 6-foot-1, 185-pound backstop who draws rave reviews on both sides of the ball, Hernandez is a cinch to stick behind the plate and was one of the best hitters in the Appalachian League last year. He finished eighth in the league in wRC+ (135) and struck out just 15.9 percent of the time. For the third year in a row, he made strides as a power hitter, upping his ISO from .146 in 2016 to .175 last season. The one major difference between Hernandez and Ruiz is that the former will begin his age-20 season at Low-A, while the latter already has 38 games under his belt at High-A and won't turn 20 until July. It's not a perfect comparison, but catchers who are quality defenders and can really hit are the black rhinos of professional baseball. This will be the last offseason to grab Hernandez in serious dynasty leagues.
More Fantasy News
Hitting above .300 at Low-A
CTampa Bay Rays  A
May 1, 2018
Hernandez is hitting .305/.364/.390 with a 10:5 K:BB in 66 plate appearances with Low-A Bowling Green. He is 2-for-2 on stolen-base attempts.
ANALYSIS
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