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Omar Hernández (minors02)

From BR Bullpen

Omar Hernández Ruiz

  • Bats Both, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lb.

BR Register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Omar Hernández has played in Spain and the US and for the Spanish national team. He is the twin brother of Frank Hernández.

His father Edgar Hernández played briefly in the Cuban Serie Nacional; the family left Cuba for Spain when Omar and his brother were about 12 years old. [1] They did not begin playing baseball until the next year. [2] The two youngsters were originally soccer players, but that changed when they hit the highly competitive environment that is European youth soccer, particularly in the shade of the great Barcelona club, and they turned to their father's favorite sport, with which they were already familiar from growing up in baseball-mad Cuba. [3] Omar was 0 for 4 with a walk and a run for Spain in the 2016 European Junior Championship. [4]

Hernández debuted in Spain's top league, the Division de Honor, in 2017. He hit very well for CB Viladecans as the 15-year-old batted .342/.383/.434 as a regular. An infielder at that point, he fielded .926. He led his team in average but did not make the league's top 10. [5] When Spain finished 2nd in the 2018 European Junior Championship, he played a nice part - .286/.375/.429, 10 R in 5 G. He tied for 3rd in the event in runs. [6]

That summer, he improved his batting line for Viladecans to .434/.500/.528 with 25 runs in 26 games, stealing 11 bases but being caught 7 times. He moved to catcher primarily, his father's old spot, and fielded .969. He was 8th in the league in average and 5th in steals but led in caught stealing. [7] The Kansas City Royals signed him in August; the scouts were Nick Leto and Rene Francisco. [8]

He hit .290/.345/.359 for the 2019 AZL Royals in his US debut, scoring 21 times in 36 games. His 8 errors tied for the lead among Arizona League backstops. [9] He then played for Spain in the 2019 European Championship. Backing up Blake Ochoa behind the dish, he debuted late in a 13-5 win over Belgium, pinch-hitting for Ochoa against Brendan Verspreet and singling home Javier Monzón. He finished a solid 5-for-12 with 3 runs and 3 RBI while playing error-free defense. With Spain having locked up a spot in the 2019 Europe/Africa Olympic Qualifier, both Spain and Israel rested many regulars in the Bronze Medal Game. Spain won 16-11, with Omar going 2 for 5 with two runs and a RBI with singles off Eric Brodkowitz and Alon Leichman. [10] He was one of the few players the team did not retain for the qualifier as Víctor Velázquez replaced him as the backup catcher. Spain did not get a spot in the 2020 Olympics. His twin brother Frank Hernández signed with the Cubs that year.

The 2020 minor league season was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. He played briefly for Viladecans in Spain (6 for 13, 2 2B, 3B, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 3 SB, 4 R, 4 RBI in 4 G). [11] He hit .174/.233/.274 in 69 games for the '21 Columbia Fireflies, throwing out 34% of those who tried to steal. Returning to Columbia in 2022, he improved his batting to .231/.292/.294 and showed great speed for a catcher (18 SB, 3 CS). He fielded .986 and threw out 26%. In the 2022 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he backed up Gabriel Lino at catcher while his twin brother Frank joined the team as a backup outfielder. Omar replaced Lino late in a rout of the Czech national team and doubled off Lukáš Hlouch in his lone at-bat. In the 9th inning of the finale, he pinch-ran for Lino as the potential tying run in a rematch with the Czechs but was stranded as Spain failed to duplicate their earlier performance against the Czech Republic. [12]

Sources[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Michael Clair: "Brothers played soccer in Cuba, baseball in Spain. Now both have MLB dreams", mlb.com, May 16, 2024. [1]

Related Sites[edit]