2014 Statistics: 164.2 innings, 29 GS, 4.10 ERA, 4.85 FIP, 5.74 K/9, 3.99 BB/9, -0.5 fWAR
2015 Age: 34?
With the starting rotation for next season full of question marks, the Yankees have made it a significant priority to find pitching. The man formerly known as Fausto Carmona is not the sexiest name floating around the free agent market, but there is still value in being a backend starter and swingman.
2014 proved to be one of the better seasons in Hernandez’ career. Initially signed by the Dodgers as a free agent, Hernandez put up a 4.74 ERA with 48 hits allowed, 30 strikeouts, and 18 walks in 43 2/3 innings. He was eventually traded to the Phillies where he pitched significantly better with a 3.87 ERA with a 108 hits allowed, 75 strikeouts, and 55 free passes in 120 innings.
Hernandez possesses an excellent ability to generate ground balls, thanks to a strong sinking fastball and changeup. For the 2014 season, Hernandez was able to get batters to beat the ball into the dirt roughly 50% of the time. Surprisingly, this represents a personal low for the right-hander, who holds a career 56% ground ball rate.
Unfortunately, that is about the most one can expect from Hernandez. Although he possesses incredibly strong ground ball rates, he is quite homer-prone, giving up roughly one dinger every nine innings. He is not going to provide a team length as he has only thrown over 180 innings three times in his eight-year career. Hernandez also does not strike many out batters as his 2014 strikeout rate of 5.74 and career 5.6 K/9 rate can attest. All of the flaws could be forgiven somewhat if Hernandez was at least able to limit free passes, but that too has proven elusive as Hernandez has given out four free passes every nine innings during this season.
Roberto Hernandez is not a good pitcher outside of his well above average ability to generate ground balls. He does not possess many, if any, redeeming qualities. He walks too many, strikes out far too few, and gives up a home runs at a fairly high clip. He may be worth a minor league contract and invitation to spring training, but he should not be guaranteed anything more.