December 15, 2014 at 9:27 PM
The Red Sox have acquired shortstop Marco Hernandez from the Chicago Cubs. Hernandez heads to Boston as the player to be named later in the deal that sent left-handed pitcher Felix Doubront to Chicago in July. The news was first reported by Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.
Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009, the 6-foot, 170-pound Hernandez made an impression in his first appearance stateside in 2011. As an 18-year-old for the Cubs Arizona Rookie League affiliate, Hernandez opened some eyes with a .333/.375/.486 and defensive skills that scouts saw as likely to stick on the left side of the diamond. Baseball America rated him the #6 prospect in the circuit and #16 in the Cubs system, saying "he has enough bat speed and strength for gap power and the plus speed to beat out bunts."
Hernandez struggled to start off the 2012 campaign after an aggressive full-season placement in Peoria of the Midwest League. He got his season back on track when he moved back down to the Northwest League, with Baseball America again rating him the sixth-best prospect in that league and 20th in the Chicago organization. Per BA, Hernandez showed "the actions, quickness and solid arm required at shortstop" with Baseball Prospectus agreeing on his "solid defensive tools on the left-side of the infield."
The Midwest League was again a challenge for Hernandez in 2013, as he hit only .254/.287/.338 for the Cubs new affiliate in Kane County. However, he rebounded with a solid 2014 at High-A Daytona. He hit .270/.315/.351 with 22 stolen bases and earned a spot on the Florida State League All-Star game.
The Rule 5 eligibility of the 22-year-old Hernandez may have had an impact on the timing of the deal. After the trade of Doubront was announced, it was widely reported that the return would be announced after the completion of the December 12 Rule 5 draft. As Hernandez was eligible, it is likely that the Red Sox had Hernandez finish the season and go through the draft process while still in the Cubs organization rather than risk losing their only return for Doubront.
Photo Credit: Marco Hernandez from milb.com