Yo, Gaby Gaby!
Just what kind of pitcher did the Mariners get in return for Arthur Rhodes? Here’s a closer look at Gaby Hernandez:
The 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-hander was drafted by the New York Mets in the third round o the 2004 draft out of a Miami-area high school. He made an immediate impression by leading the Gulf Coast League with a 1.09 ERA, striking out 58 batters over his first 49 2/3 pro innings.
He was equally impressive in his first full season, reaching Class A Advanced ball as a teenager. In the first half of 2005, Hernandez was a South Atlantic League All-Star, posting a 2.43 ERA and .179 batting average against before struggling a bit following a promotion to the Florida State League. That offseason, he was sent, along with outfielder Dante Brinkley, to the Marlins for catcher Paul LoDuca. His first full season with the Marlins (2006), Hernandez was outstanding, spending the season in the FSL at age 20 and going 9-7 with a 3.68 ERA and a nifty 115/35 K/BB ratio in 120 IP. His 2007 season was a little up-and-down, though he was a Southern League All-Star at age 21 and topped the 150-inning plateau for the first time.
This year, Hernandez was briefly in the mix for the Marlins’ No. 5 starter job in big-league camp. He pitched well in camp, but eventually got sent down and began the year with Triple-A Albuquerque. Things didn’t go well for him in New Mexico, as he went 2-8 with a 7.24 ERA over 13 starts, spending nearly a month on the DL with an intercostal strain, before being sent down to Double-A to get straightened out. He’s gone 3-0 with a 4.30 ERA in four starts and looking a lot sharper.
When Hernandez is right, he’s got a good three-pitch mix: a fastball that sits in the low 90s and can reach 94; a breaking ball that is a plus at times; and a changeup that is also above-average. Even with the demotion to Double-A, Hernandez is still fairly young for his level and could still be ready for a big-league callup in 2009.