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SoxProspects News

May 2, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Notes from the Field: Darwinzon Hernandez, Zach Schellenger and Jared Oliver

At the end of March, the SoxProspects Staff made their annual trip to Minor League Spring Training. Over the next few weeks their notes and observations will be featured on SoxProspects News. Here is the eight feature from Spring Training highlighting three final Red Sox pitching prospects.

21-year old left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez has filled out considerably after signing for just $7,500 out of Venezuela back in 2013. Now listed at 6-foot-2, 245 pounds, Hernandez has a thick, strong lower half and mature frame. The second-ranked left-handed pitching prospect in the system, he opened 2018 in the High A Salem rotation.

During this Spring Training outing, Hernandez threw four innings at the Twins complex in the High A game, striking out six. His fastball sat 92-94 mph in the first, topping out at 95 mph with late life and appearing to get on hitters quick. He later settled into the 89-92 mph range. His command wavered throughout, which will continue to be a focus in his development going forward. Hernandez’s arm slot and the drop-and-drive in his delivery make it difficult to command consistently, and he projects to have only a fringe-average command profile into the future.

Development of a third pitch has been the other primary point of development for Hernandez. This outing, he appeared to be working on his changeup, which is typically his third- or fourth-best offering. He threw a heavy dose of them at 83-86 mph, showing average potential as he seeks to develop more consistency with the pitch. He also threw a curveball flashing plus potential with tight, 1-to-7 break. He was able to throw it both in the zone for a strike and buried it in the dirt when ahead in the count to elicit hitters to chase. He threw two pitches in the 82-83 mph range that appeared to be his slider. They seemed flat and graded out as nothing more than fringe-average.

Hernandez’s velocity from the left side and plus breaking ball would help him make an easy transition to the bullpen down the road, if needed. He will be Rule 5 eligible this off-season and will almost certainly need to be protected, which will accelerate his timeline because he will start burning option years next year. However, he is still young and advanced for his age with a strong frame, so he will be given the opportunity to develop a serviceable third (and perhaps fourth) offering and see if he can improve his command profile to stick in the rotation.


2017 sixth-rounder Zach Schellenger threw against Rays Low A hitters in Port Charlotte. Listed at 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, the right-hander reportedly could dial his fastball up to 100 mph from his mid-to-low three-quarters arm slot at Seton Hall prior to missing significant time as a senior due to a bicep injury. The biggest question mark for him as a pro will be whether he will be able to regain the arm strength. We received reports that his stuff was back up to pre-draft levels earlier in camp, but in this outing, Schellenger’s fastball sat 88-90 mph and he struggled with his control, walking two hitters and serving up a home run.

Schellenger’s slider at 77-78 mph appeared to have some bat-missing ability, and led to his lone strikeout. It was long and sweeping at its best. He also appeared to throw a fringe changeup at 78-80 mph.


6-foot-1, 185-pound right-hander Jared Oliver was the club’s twenty-sixth-round pick in the 2016 draft, signing for $10,000. Oliver has an athletic, medium build with a quick arm and max-effort delivery. The fastball was 93-95 mph, and he struggled to control it, the pitch often sailing high to the arm side as he walked a pair of hitters. The slider and curveball were serviceable offerings that will need further development/consistency. He has opened the year out of the bullpen in High A Salem.

Photo credit: Darwinzon Hernandez and Jared Oliver by Kelly O'Connor.

Chaz Fiorino is Assistant Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @cbfiorino.