This player preview was written by CB Wilkins, who can be found at dropout productions, and posts here as cbwilk.
Soon-to-be 25 year old Diory Hernandez looked like he was on a clear path up the Minor League ladder after a successful season for Rome in 2004, but so-so performances, aided by a questionable attitude, bogged down his ascension, and he spent part of three seasons playing for Class A Myrtle Beach. With newfound determination in 2007, Hernandez righted his career, putting up a fine season, mostly with AA Mississippi, where he displayed consistency at the plate and in the field. He continued to progress in 2008, spent mostly with AAA Richmond, where he again was a model of consistency, regressing only in slugging (which is expected when moving to a higher level) and in steals (which he wasn’t very successful at anyway).
Hernandez utilizes a polished approach at the plate, content to hit singles and doubles and never confuse himself as a power hitter. His approach, combined with an adept bunting ability, make him the classic, old-school number 2 hitting middle infielder. In the field, he has soft, sure hands, and a clear sense of the fundamental way to play. The majority of Hernandez’s games have been played at shortstop, and while his fielding is adequate enough for the position, his arm is not. Likewise, while he is capable of defensively playing third base, hit bat doesn’t profile well there. However, at second base, the combination of his well above average defense and no-frills offense make a perfect fit.
If he were to reach his absolute potential, Hernandez could be a starting second baseman on a second or third tier team, but his likely Major League future is as a utility man, and it’s not out of the question that he would be adequate in the outfield if asked to play there. Atlanta’s 2009 bench seems set with Omar Infante and Martin Prado occupying the backup infield positions (with Greg Norton a possibility in emergency situations), but, should an infielder get injured, Hernandez would almost certainly be the first player recalled. For now, he will go to AAA Gwinnett and continue to polish his game and, in the near future, he could become a reliable, if unspectacular, reserve for the Braves.
Thanks to CB for a great preview.