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Washington Nationals: Yadiel Hernández, the kid from “Los Mangos”

Photo (Web Screen Shot)

By Yusseff Díaz

Yadiel Hernández is an ultra-talented player who has been stagnated by the depth in the Washington Nationals farm system and outfield.

The additions of young talents like Bryce Harper, Juan Soto and Victor Robles combined with veterans like Adam Eaton have relegated Hernández to the minors although he has simply massacred pitching at that level.

The native of Matanzas was a bargain signing for the ball  club when he pacted with the team in 2016 and has been a terror to pitching in the minors since.

In three minor league seasons the slugger has hit .301 with 63 long balls and 217 runs batted in, but his yet to see the big show.

A productive winter

This winter he also terrorized the pitching in the Mexican Pacific Winter League in preparation for a spring in which he was going to compete for a roster spot on the Nationals.

In 60 games this year for the Hermosillo Orangegrowers he hit .336 went yard five times and drove in 43 runs, while slashing .462/.441/.903 in route to finishing second in the league’s MVP race.

Heading into the season he seemed confident of his chances of making the team,” I had a productive off-season and I feel more comfortable with the ball club every day. My ultimate goal is to make the ball club this spring”, said the outfielder.

A postponed Spring Training

Hernández’s coming out party was supposed to be this spring, but the coronavirus outbreak postponed the Cuban possibly winning a roster spot.

There was plenty of interest  in the Cuban this off-season from the Nippon circuit ,but the team nixed any possible deal for the outfielder and then invited him to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.

When the season resumes look for Hernández to make his debut sometime this year with the defending world champs.

Photo (Granma) Yadiel Hernández was a feared hitter during his time in the Serie Nacional

Serie Nacional y WBC

Hernández has competed for Cuba in plenty of international events including the Caribbean World Series, he even defected at an event (the annual friendship series between Cuba and the US) in 2015.

In his six Serie Nacionales he hit .324 with 62 roundtrippers and 350 RBI’s with Matanzas. His Crocodiles were crowned champs this year in Cuba.

Although he was never able represent Cuba in a WBC he dreams of a Cuban team with MLB and Serie Nacional players,” I would love to see a unified Cuban team with players from both sides of the pond. The Cuban people would love to see all their players playing under our flag, it would be a spectacle for all  to see.”

Debuting in the Majors

On September 3, 2020 Hernández was finally called up to the big leagues at the age of 32 and got his first hit on the grand stage against his hometown Miami Marlins with an opposite field double against Brandon Kintzler in the bottom of the seventh of a Washington 2-1. Although he’s hitting a paltry. 125 the native of Matanzas, Cuba has made his dream of playing in MLB come true and anything after this is a plus. Will the outfielder stick in the Majors or will he move on to an Asian circuit? That remains to be seen in an offseason in which he will be a free agent.

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