It’s one of those “hard to believe, Harry” moments in Phillies history. A 22-year -old, error prone, third baseman has all of the sudden become a Phillies right-field prospect with a right handed power. His name is Jan Hernandez, a largely forgotten, third round draft pick in 2013.
It has taken only two games in right field where he has yet to record an outfield assist or putout to get him back on the prospect list. In his two games in right field he has put together a two game cycle going 5 for 8 plus a walk with two singles, a double, a triple and a homer.
Yes, the Threshers won 6-0 in starting pitcher Ranger Suarez’s Threshers debut on Tuesday night. He pitched a six inning, five hitter after his call up from Lakewood. But the big story for us has been the break out of Hernandez and his game winning 12th home run of the season in the game at Spectrum Field.
Up until a week or so ago he was just a strikeout machine and his career looked in doubt. This is his fifth year in the Phillies organization and with the Rule 5 draft coming up in December even his time in the Phillies organization could be in doubt in more ways than one.
Hernandez started the 2017 season well, showing long ball power hitting five homers in the first month of the season. Watch two of his April homers HERE and HERE. But he went in the tank in May and June hitting only .161 and .167 respectively in those two months.
He struggled all season defensively at third, committing 17 errors for a .835 fielding percent and a 1.87 range factor both career lows. Something had to done to save his career.
All of the sudden a light went on some where in the Phillies minor league department and Jan went to work in a new position in right field the last two games. What he is doing is sure better than being reduced to the role of a part time DH and when benched, learning the art of a first base coach.
So far in July he is hitting .314 with an OPS of .979 helped by his last two games starting in right field. He is hitting .350 in his last ten games with eight RBIs.
The next step in the now rejuvenated career path of Jan Hernandez is catching his first fly ball and throwing out his first runner from right field. His story line is one to watch the rest of the 2017 Phillies minor league season.