We just debuted “McDeep Dive”, our new series that will spotlight one Giants player every day for a week. We’ll move backwards and forwards through time, look at on the field stuff, off the field stuff, and see if we can learn something new about them. Here’s part 4 of our look at Gorkys Hernández.
The 2nd-best prospect in the Giants’ system is 18-year outfielder Heliot Ramos, whom the Giants drafted with the 19th overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft. This morning, MLB revealed that Ramos has been added to the World Team’s roster for this year’s Futures Game at Nationals Park on July 15th as part of the All-Star Game festivities and events.
10 years ago, then 20-year old Gorkys Hernández was a top prospect in the Braves’ farm system selected for the World Team of the 2008 Futures Game at Yankee Stadium. Like Ramos, he was in A-ball (the Myrtle Beach Pelicans — more on them later), and like Ramos, industry analysts were extremely high on his prospects. Wrote Baseball America:
Hernandez draws comparisons to a young Kenny Lofton as a speedster with gap power. He makes good contact and has shown the ability to make adjustments against experienced pitchers.
About Ramos they said:
Ramos reportedly drew consistent 60 ratings for his speed, power and throwing arm.
And while Ramos hasn’t been heralded as a franchise player, his consistently high prospect ranking and potential ceiling certainly has him positioned to possibly become one at some point. After the Giants signed Gorkys in the 2016 offseason, Grant reviewed those old scouting reports on him and concluded:
Sounds like a franchise player, give or take, and then he stopped hitting. Or, rather, he never really started. Part of the problem was that he was young for most of his leagues, so the numbers were always taken with a grain of salt. Another part of the problem was that he was traded three times (once for baseball hero Edgar Renteria), and four different sets of instructors and organizational philosophies can’t be good for a fast-tracked tools monster.
The Futures Game was no doubt the highlight of Gorkys’ 2008 season, which saw him post a .735 OPS in 406 at bats (100 games) in a full Single-A season. He hit only 5 home runs (Heliot Ramos has 6 in 74 games) and was thought to have a chance of advancing to Double-A with a healthy performance. That didn’t happen, but he didn’t wash out, either.
Since I can’t find a box score of the game, I’ll just assume Gorkys was responsible for at least one of the runs in the World Team’s 3-0 win over Team USA. The game was retrospectively memorable for two reasons that positively answer my question as to whether or not Gorkys is Baseball’s Forrest Gump.
First, the Olympics Team USA wanted to use this game as a trial for the Olympics, which brought about two firsts to the game:
For the first time, the United States team was drawn from the pool of players selected by USA Baseball for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
The game lasted nine innings in regulation, rather than seven.
And second, his World teammates included future Giant Pablo Sandoval and then-current Giant and heralded prospect Angel Villalona. Among his Team USA opponents were Andrew McCutchen, (watch a video of his time in the game here), Nate Schierholtz, and Denard Span.
After the game, he went back to Myrtle Beach to finish out his season. Myrtle Beacheans love their Pelicans. He was singled out in their online paper:
Hernandez was a selection to the 2008 MLB Futures Game during his time with the Pelicans. He hit .264 with five homeruns and 64 RBI in Myrtle Beach, while also stealing 20 bases in 24 attempts and flashing an all-star glove in centerfield.
And although I could only find this 2008 Recap video and not one specifically about Gorkys among the videos available in their YouTube channel, please watch this 2008 preseason video just so you can get the fullest flavor of his experience:
Gorkys has come a long way since then, and even though there are no guarantees for prospects, making it to the major leagues is itself a tremendous accomplishment. We can only hope Heliot Ramos finds himself to be just as fortunate.