If you think this kid hasn't been scouted as heavily because he is from Puerto Rico, guess again. He was the third baseman along side 2012 #1 draft pick, Carlos Correa. With Correa in professional baseball now, Jan Hernandez has now moved back to short-stop for his senior year and has a chance to stick there in professional ball.
He's more filled out than Correa was at this time last year and probably will carry more weight in the end. He's currently 6'3, 195 pounds and will be 18 and a half at draft day. There's some build in his legs and you can see it when he runs. He's a little knock knee'd as well which could give some concern about his knees moving forward. Those two combined are some reasons to think he may necessitate a move to third base in the future. But, he's definitely a strong athlete and can play short right now.
He has some pretty good hips that can rotate and move pretty freely. That's one thing to really love about his fielding. His speed and quickness make it a little more difficult to project him at short. If he's able to stick long term there, he's probably nothing more than average defensively. At third, he could be a plus defender. His arm definitely works there and he has pretty quick arm action with the strength.
There's some variability with his bat. You see some video where he drives the ball hard and is able to provide the backspin to consistently launch the ball. However, you see some video where he rolls over the top and beats the ball into the ground.
He has the strength for power, he has the legs for power, he has the hips for power, but he needs work with his swing. He has inconsistent weight shift. He tends to over rotate out of his weight shift and leads to his hands rolling over too soon. In the videos below, the video from his academy shows a lot better batting than the PG event. In the end, if he's able to refine his swing, I could see him providing above average to plus power.
His major league floor is a utility player. Capable of providing good defense at 3B and even as he grows could still possibly fill in at short. His hips could even allow him to play 2B. He has the raw power to provide some pinch hitting power but would a lower average hitter in the .240-.250 range.
An average defensive shortstop with a .275-.285 batting average and 20-25 home runs would be a career year for him. I think the shortstop aspect may be a stretch and above average defense at 3B is more likely. Overall, a good defensive third baseman with an OPS of .850 is an asset in baseball now.
College Commitment: N/A
Projected Draft Round
Late first round to third round. Because he's in Puerto Rico, the big time publications haven't been able to monitor him as closely as stateside players. Similar situation as Correa, where he was a mid first round guy and then started shooting up. MLB.com has him ranked as the 92nd ranked prospect in the draft and John Sickels has him as the 35th best prospect.
Will he sign?
Good question. He's likely to go to Miami if he goes the college route, but the lack of a commitment is foretelling. Baseball players commit pretty early and with him not having done that tells me he wants to play pro ball. I think he signs.
Hernandez has the potential to be a middle of the order hitter while holding down the hot corner, or shortstop in a perfect world. He is a guy who could hit .270-.280 with 20, or in a career year, 30 homers. He will offer solid defense if not above average defense. At his peak he could be a perennial all-star. He's fun to dream on and someone with that dream will take him in the first round.
Jan Alexis Hernandez is a 2013 SS with a 6-3 190 lb. frame from San Lorenzo, PR who attends Carlos Beltran Baseball Academy. Large and loose athletic build, very strong. Outstanding defensive tools and actions, moves fluidly through the ball, light on his feet, plays fast and easy, big time arm strength, may outgrow shortstop in the future. Didn't run at this event but 6.64 in the 60 in December, very aggressive and disruptive baserunner with plus instincts. Right handed hitter, calm swing approach with leg lift trigger, moves into contact, big bat speed with plus power potential, tends to try to lift/top spin the ball, best approach is with level swing plane, has the strength/bat speed to drive the ball out of the park without lifting it. High ceiling talent with tools and actions. Good student.
A year ago, Carlos Correa represented Puerto Rico well as the No. 1 overall pick in the Draft. Hernandez, another shortstop, won't go that early, but he has the chance to do his home island proud.
Hernandez is already strong and well-built, and he may well add some strength as he matures. He has good bat speed and should have good power in the future. He has good hands and a strong arm, but some think his range might necessitate a move to third in the future.
With Hernandez's offensive potential and his confidence on the field, he might profile well at the hot corner down the road.