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Why the Braves called up Daysbel Hernandez
The Atlanta Braves made a few roster moves following Saturday's loss to the Brewers. They optioned Allan Winans to Gwinnett after one start, transferred reliever Jesse Chavez to the 60-Day IL, and called up flame-throwing reliever Daysbel Hernandez.
Tommy John surgery sidelined Hernandez for all of 2022. This season he has appeared in 22 innings and racked up 32 strikeouts with a 2.05 ERA. The Braves have suffered a lot of injuries in the bullpen with AJ Minter, Nick Anderson, Jesse Chavez, Dylan Lee all currently on the IL.
The Braves have the third-best bullpen ERA on the season and are tops in the National League at 3.56. Only the Yankees and Guardians are better in the American League. Hernandez is being called upon to continue the season-long success out of the pen.
Atlanta Braves: Daysbel Hernandez Scouting Report
Daysbel Hernandez has a fastball that ranges from 95-99 mph and relies heavily on his high-80s slider. His fastball has a lot of movement for a four-seamer. Back in 2020, our scouting report on him showed that he relied heavily on just the two electric pitches.
Does he still rely on two pitches? In his last start in Gwinnett, he threw 24 pitches. Twelve of those were sliders and eight were four-seam fastballs. Two plus pitches can work out of the bullpen.
He has struggled with his command. However, he seems to have harnassed his electric stuff enough to limit walks and hits to the tune of a 0.86 WHIP this season, despite walking 4.1 batters per nine innings.
How Daysbel Hernandez Performed in the Minor Leagues
Hernandez has spent parts of four seasons pitching at various levels of the Braves minor league system. In 2019, he appeared in 35 games for the High-A Fire Frogs. He made a real leap with the Frogs, racking up 52.2 innings and sporting a fashionable 1.71 ERA.
He recorded seven saves and drastically lowered his walks per nine. In 2018, he walked 5.4 per nine and dropped that to 3.9 in 2019. His strikeout ratios also took a major leap between 2018 and 2019. He struck out 8.5 per nine in '18. In 2019, that rocketed to 12.0! The 22-year-old Cuban righty turned some heads with his performance in 2019.
Hernandez emerged from the shadows of COVID-19 in 2021 and appeared in 36 games between AA-AAA. His 26 games in Double-A went very well as he posted a 2.76 ERA with a 12.3 K/9. His time in Gwinnett was the opposite. Granted, it was a small sample size, but he was rocked in 9.2 innings, allowing eight earned, and walking SEVEN.
As we mentioned, he missed all of 2022 due to Tommy John recovery. He did rack up 10 saves in the Mexican Pacific Winter League in '21-'22.
This brings us to 2023, where he has impressed enough to earn the nod to the big-league roster for the Braves.
Reasons for Braves to be Concerned About Daysbel Hernandez
Hernandez has a lot of positives going for him. He is a strikeout machine. His K/9 has reached the highest of his career with 13.1 in 2023. However, there are some things to watch as Hernandez hopes to make his debut.
Daysbel has only appeared in 12 Triple-A games. Just 7.8% of his career minor-league innings have been at the highest level. His first stint resulted in terrible results. This season he impressed enough to get the call, but he has only pitched in 2.2 innings for Gwinnett.
If you read the scouting report or looked at his career BB9 numbers, then it's no surprise that his control will be a concern to watch. Hopefully, his command is enough that his strikeout ability will take over. Hernandez has walked 4.6 batters per nine innings throughout his entire minor-league career.
Atlanta Braves: Daysbel Hernandez Conclusion
Daysbel is currently outside of the Braves' top 30 prospects, according to MLB.com. Just three years ago, I had Hernandez ranked as the Braves' eighth-best pitching prospect. After reviewing the "tape" and reading the reports, I declared that Hernandez would be a back-end of the bullpen player in the big leagues someday.
He will likely get his first taste of the big leagues in low-leverage situations, but we'll see where that takes him.