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Top 25 Mets Prospects for 2024: Ronald Hernandez (16)

Next on our list is a catcher.

Amazin Avenue Prospect List

Name: Ronald Hernandez
Position: C
Born: 10/23/2003
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 175 lbs.
Bats/Throws: S/R
Acquired: Trade (July 28, 2023: Traded by the Miami Marlins with Marco Vargas to the New York Mets for David Robertson)

2023 Stats: 46 G, 142 AB, .294/.472/.455, 42 H, 9 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 47 BB, 37 K, 4/5 SB, .365 BABIP (Rookie)/8 G, 29 AB, .172/.333/.241, 5 H, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 6 BB, 13 K, 0/0 SB, .278 BABIP (Single-A)

Venezuelan catcher Ronald Hernandez signed with the Miami Marlins on January 15, 2021 for $850,000 signing bonus, the second-highest bonus that they gave to any player they signed in the 2021-2022 period after Cuban infielder Yiddi Cappe. The 17-year-old made his professional debut that year with the DSL Marlins and appeared in 44 games, hitting .209/.365/.358 with 5 doubles, 3 triples, 3 home runs, 3 stolen bases in 4 attempts, and 31 walks to 32 strikeouts. He was promoted in 2022 and sent stateside to the Florida Complex League, where he appeared in 41 games for the FCL Marlins and hit .236/.329/.321 with 4 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 2 stolen bases in 3 attempts, and 14 walks to 32 strikeouts. He remained in the Florida Complex League for the start of the 2023 season, but the switch-hitting backstop grew, filled-in, and made some adjustments to his swing to give it more loft, and the difference between his 2022 performance and 2023 performance was like night-and-day. In 38 games for the FCL Marlins, the 19-year-old Hernandez hit .298/.464/.452 with 5 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs, 3 stolen bases in as many attempts, and 32 walks to 27 strikeouts.

On July 28, 2023, Hernandez was packaged along with teammate Marco Vargas and traded to the Mets in exchange for veteran reliever David Robertson. Hernandez remained in the FCL, now with the FCL Mets, and continued his strong season, hitting .286/.509/.486 in 14 games with them, adding 4 doubles, 1 home run, 1 stolen base, 15 walks, and 10 more strikeouts to his tally for the season. At the end of August, he was promoted to the St. Lucie Mets, and while he had an incredible debut, going 3-5 with a double, he otherwise struggled against Single-A pitching before the season ended. Appearing in 8 games for St. Lucie, Hernandez went 5-29, hitting 2 doubles, drawing 6 walks, and striking out 13 times. All in all, he spent the majority of his season in the Florida Complex League and hit an outstanding .294/.472/.455 in 46 games with 9 doubles, 1 triple, 4 home runs, 4 stolen bases in 5 attempts, and 47 walks to 37 strikeouts, a 161 wRC+.

Hernandez is listed at 5’11”, 155-pounds, but he grew and added muscle mass between the 2022 and 2023 seasons. He stands slightly open at the plate, holding his hands high and wrapping his bat behind his head at 10:00 from the left-side and 2:00 from the right. He swings with a leg moderate kick and his bat path has upward loft through the strike zone. In his brief time with St. Lucie, Hernandez averaged an 84.6 MPH exit velocity, with about one-third of his batted ball events having exit velocities of 95 MPH or higher, including a handful of 100+ MPH readings. He is a patient hitter, working counts, drawing a large amount of walks, and striking out at a low rate.

Behind the plate, scouts and evaluators believe Hernandez is a good defender at the present with the potential to blossom into an above-average catcher. He is mobile and blocks pitches well. He posts plus pop times, has an average arm, and is getting more accurate with his throws. He shows excellent leadership qualities and has a strong work ethic. If he is able to put everything together while improving on his catch-and-throw to limit the running game, Hernandez will be able to positively contribute on both sides of the plate.