I love underrated prospects. Even if they really aren't underrated, but at least under the radar.
Enrique "Kíke" Hernandez fits that bill.
Let me preface this by saying that I love this guy. By saying that I love this guy does not mean that I think he's a top prospect or a future star. Because I don't. I think he has potential to be valuable to a major league club, but is not an All-Star.
Kìke was a 6th round pick in 2009 out of a military academy in Puerto Rico and is the son of an amateur scout for the Pittsburg Pirates. He was a high school shortstop but quickly transitioned to second base in his second season as a minor leaguer. Since then he played one season primarily as a left-fielder since Delino DeShields was on the same roster prior to his move back to center.
Since then Kíke has been primarily as second baseman but has played literally every position outside of catcher.
By all accounts, he has mega character. Fans love him. Teammates love him. He is a gritty second baseman that knows how to hit.
So why is he not a top prospect? He can't play short everyday. I've seen him play a few times, a set this season for Oklahoma City and one game for Corpus last year. One of those games was at SS.
You can't tell much about a player defensively in one game. He has good fundamentals but he's limited. He looked fine there in that game. But, he wasn't exactly challenged either. By seeing him in a few games total at second, he seemed to have average range for a second baseman. And if he can't get to it, he's going to bust it to at least try.
I've heard a lot about his arm as it's not strong enough for SS. I think it's fringy for SS. Meaning it would play if he could carry something else to provide defensive value there like plus range. He doesn't have that. Could he hold it down to spell a starter? Sure. He wouldn't be a liability for one game. But, he's not a guy to count on at SS.
Offensively, he makes contact. He's not a base threat. He's not a real power threat. He's a career 84% contact rate guy. This year he's making contact at 85.6% of the time. That's high end contact. That means he doesn't strikeout much, less than 10%. If only he drew more than 5-6% of the time, he would be a lethal on-base guy.
He does at least offer double digit HR power. But 10-15 HR's is not a power threat.
But, that's why I think he has value. His ability to at least fill in all over the diamond and make contact make him a great candidate for a utility guy and a great backup at 2B if Jose Altuve were to get injured.
After all he's dominating the PCL while being 22. Yeah, about 4 years younger than the average for the PCL.