GORKYS HERNANDEZ
CENTER FIELDER
Born: September 7, 1987
Height: 6′ 0″
Weight: 175
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: Int’l FA, Detroit Tigers, 2005
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
Country: Venezuela
Agent: Scott Boras

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Hernandez will be joining the Pirates’ organization for the second time.  They first obtained him, along with RHP Charlie Morton and LHP Jeff Locke, from the Braves for Nate McLouth.  The Braves had acquired Hernandez from Detroit in the Edgar Renteria trade.  Baseball America rated him the fourth best prospect in the Braves’ system going into 2009 and the third best in the Carolina League in 2008.  He also won an MVP award in 2007.  BA billed Hernandez as a five-tool player, although by the time the Pirates first acquired him there hadn’t been any evidence of power.  Hernandez runs well and is very good defensively, getting good jumps and displaying a strong arm.  He’s shown good base stealing ability some of the time.  The Pirates included him in the trade with the Marlins for Gaby Sanchez in 2012, then signed him as a minor league free agent for 2015.

2006
R:  327/356/463, 205 AB, 9 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 10 BB, 27 K, 20-24 SB

Had a good year in the GCL.  The five HRs he hit, in just 50 games, remain tied for his career high, as he hasn’t shown power like this since.

2007
A:  293/344/391, 481 AB, 25 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 36 BB, 69 K, 54-65 SB

In low A, Hernandez hit for average and stole a lot of bases.  He didn’t draw a lot of walks, but he fanned only once every seven ABs.

2008
A+:  264/348/387, 406 AB, 23 2B, 6 3B, 5 HR, 48 BB, 79 K, 20-24 SB

After the trade to the Braves, Hernandez’ hitting tailed off in high A.  The pitchers’ park at Myrtle Beach could have been a factor.  His walk rate increased to 48, but his K rate increased to one every five ABs.

2009
AA (Atl):  316/361/387, 212 AB, 11 2B, 2 3B, 15 BB, 54 K, 10-18 SB
AA (Pgh):  262/312/340, 344 AB, 14 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR, 24 BB, 76 K, 9-17 SB

Hernandez was doing very well at time of trade, especially as 21-year-old in AA.  He struggled afterward, hitting .244 in June and July, although he rebounded to hit .286 in Aug/Sept.  He showed little power and the strikeouts increased again to nearly one every four ABs.  His base stealing efficiency was poor before and after the trade.  Concerns about Hernandez’ attitude surfaced when he was removed from Altoona games twice, once for failing to run out a ball and once for actions toward an umpire.

2010
AA:  266/333/334, 368 AB, 11 2B, 4 3B, 2 HR, 33 BB, 95 K, 17-20 SB

The Pirates sent Hernandez back to Altoona and his hitting problems seemed to magnify.  Even in training camp that year he looked very reluctant even to swing the bat.  He hit just .192 in April and .250 in May.  He started coming around in June, posting an OPS of .815 that month and .742 in July.  He also improved base stealing efficiency a great deal.  Unfortunately, his season ended in late July due to broken finger suffered while trying to bunt.  For the season he fanned in over a quarter of his ABs.

2011
AAA:  283/348/392, 424 AB, 25 2B, 9 3B, 1 HR, 35 BB, 91 K, 21-30 SB

Hernandez moved up to AAA and continued to struggle initially, posting a .632 OPS in April.  He missed a little time due to injury but got hot in May, hitting .283, then batted 337/367/481 in June.  He tailed off after that, with OPS figures a little below .700 in July and August.  Hernandez started hitting for a little more gap power and his K rate started back in the right direction, as he fanned a little less than once every four and a half ABs.  He registered 11 outfield assists and took part in five double plays.  The Pirates did not call him up in September, although they supposedly had considered him as an injury fill-in during the season.

2012
AAA (Pgh):  257/353/346, 237 AB, 11 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 34 BB, 64 K, 13-20 SB
MLB (Pgh):  083/154/083, 24 AB, 1 BB, 5 K, 2-2 SB

MLB (Mia):  212/288/341, 132 AB, 2 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 12 BB, 37 K, 5-7 SB

The Pirates signed McLouth to serve as a fourth outfielder, which left Hernandez with no chance of a job in the majors.  In AAA, he continued to get on base at a decent clip without hitting the ball with much authority.  He did make his major league debut during a brief callup in late May and then returned in July when the Pirates sent a struggling Jose Tabata to the minors.  Hernandez didn’t, however, get much playing time in the majors.  At the trade deadline, the team sent him to Miami in the trade for Gaby Sanchez.  The Marlins kept him in the majors the rest of the year.  He played semi-regularly in center, but didn’t hit much.

2013
AAA (Mia):  275/330/375, 309 AB, 11 2B, 4 3B, 4 HR, 22 BB, 96 K, 22-31 SB
AAA (KC):  231/286/347, 121 AB, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 8 BB, 29 K, 3-6 SB

Miami designated Hernandez for assignment at the end of spring training.  He wasn’t claimed and spent most of the season with the Marlins’ AAA affiliate.  In late July, they sent him to Kansas City in a minor deal and he finished the season with the Royals’ AAA affiliate.  After the season, Hernandez became a free agent, but he re-signed quickly with the Royals.

2014
AAA (KC):  231/286/231, 13 AB, 1 BB, 2 K, 2-3 SB
AAA (CWS):  233/292/290, 176 AB, 10 2B, 13 BB, 44 K, 6-6 SB

MEX:  378/463/478, 90 AB, 9 2B, 15 BB, 14 K, 8-11 SB

Hernandez opened the season in AAA with the Royals, but a few days into the season they sent him to the White Sox for cash.  He struggled with the Sox’ AAA affiliate and they released him in June.  He caught on briefly in Mexico.

Hernandez’ hitting has dropped off over the last two seasons at the AAA level.  Depending on where Willy Garcia, Mel Rojas and Keon Broxton end up at the start of 2015, the Pirates may not have a need for Hernandez in AAA and it’s not clear anyway whether he can still hit AAA pitching.  He could spend at least part of the season with Altoona, which appears likely to be short in the outfield unless Garcia and Broxton return there.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Majors
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MLB.com
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2015:  Minor league contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2005
MLB Debut: 5/21/2012
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: 2021
Rule 5 Eligible: 2015
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2009
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2010, 2011, 2012)
MLB Service Time: 0.111
TRANSACTIONS
April 30, 2005: Signed by the Detroit Tigers as an international free agent.
October 29, 2007: Acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Detroit Tigers along with Jair Jurrjens in exchange for Edgar Renteria.
June 3, 2009: Acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Atlanta Braves along with Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke in exchange for Nate McLouth.
November 20, 2009: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
July 31, 2012: Traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with a competitive balance draft pick to the Miami Marlins for Gaby Sanchez and Kyle Kaminska.
March 31, 2013: Designated for assignment by the Miami Marlins; outrighted to AAA on April 3.
July 22, 2013: Traded by the Miami Marlins to the Kansas City Royals for Alex McClure.
November 5, 2013: Became a free agent.
November 23, 2013: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Kansas City Royals.
April 10, 2014: Traded by the Kansas City Royals to the Chicago White Sox for cash considerations.
June 11, 2014: Released by the Chicago White Sox.
December 1, 2014: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.