Entering the 2013 season, Cesar Hernandez was a 22-year old second baseman seemingly blocked in his path to reach the Phillies who had completed an All-Star campaign in Double-A Reading. Hernandez earned a 129 PA cup of coffee with the IronPigs at the end of 2012, hitting just .248/.270/.298. Hernandez began 2013 with the IronPigs, hitting a very good .309/.375/.402 with a career-best 32 steals in 440 PA.
Hernandez earned first call-up to the Phillies on May 29 when Michael Young was placed on the bereavement list and filled in admirably, hitting .250 in 28 PA. Hernandez was shuttled back down to Triple-A after the Phillies June 8 game and remained with the club until July 14, when he would be sent to Double-A to learn center field. Hernandez would be back with the Pigs by July 18, splitting time between center and second base.
Hernandez would be called up to the Phillies in September with the expansion of rosters. Hernandez would play 22 of his 25 games in September in center field, filling in for the injured Ben Revere, hitting .301/.369/.344 with no homers and no steals in three attempts. Despite his lack of power, Hernandez’s .674 OPS was tied for 288th out of 453 MLBers with 100 PA or more. It was recently reported that Hernandez will spend time this winter playing third base and left field.
Grade: C. It is hard not to grade Hernandez on a curve based on his age, his very good season at Triple-A, and the fact that he learned an entirely new position on the fly, but I will resist. Hernandez enters 2014 at age 23 and is out of options. Pending the league granting the Phillies an additional option year, Hernandez will likely have to remain on the Phillies 25-man roster or have the Phillies risk losing him. Hernandez has a future as a player who can hit for average and get on base in the Major Leagues but does not immediately have a path to regular playing time on the Phillies.