In D. Hernandez's book, K's drive plot, W's stall

Bad luck and lack of consistency have held back Keys pitcher

Orioles minor league notebook

August 06, 2007|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN REPORTER

David Hernandez has established himself as a strikeout pitcher in only three professional seasons in the Orioles' organization.

Now it's time for Hernandez to establish himself as a winner.

Hernandez is 5-9 with a 5.20 ERA in 22 games at Single-A Frederick, all but one of them starts. He has one victory since June 7.

His season appears to be a dud until you consider that he leads the Carolina League with 123 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings. He's walked 37.

"He's got very good stuff, a very good fastball and slider, and that's how he gets his strikeouts," said David Stockstill, director of minor league operations. "He can be overpowering. But he's also been the victim of a little bit of bad luck with errors and run support, and his concentration can waver."

Hernandez, 22, was impressive during the first month, going 2-2 with a 2.74 ERA in April. But the Miami native was 1-4 with a 6.60 ERA in six July starts.

Elite pitching prospects Brandon Erbe and Chorye Spoone garner most of the attention with the Keys, and Hernandez's record and ERA aren't going to thrust him into many conversations about future Orioles rotations. He's 13-19 since they selected him in the 16th round of the 2005 draft out of Cosumnes River College in California.

But there always seems to be a flip side with Hernandez. He also led low Single-A Delmarva with 28 starts and 145 1/3 innings last season and tied for the team lead with seven victories. His 154 strikeouts ranked fourth in the South Atlantic League.

"He has a good arm and he's young. This is only his second full year, and he's progressed pretty fast," Stockstill said.

"There's a certain amount of learning he needs to do in the area of consistency. He'll have one bad inning and give up some runs, and that's why his won-loss record isn't better."

Triple-A Norfolk

Infielder Mike Cervenak batted .291 in July. He went into the weekend ranked second in the International League with 124 hits. ... Catcher J.R. House ranked third with 118 hits. ... Reliever James Hoey was 2-0 with a 0.79 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 11 1/3 innings in July. He had 64 strikeouts in 42 2/3 innings at Norfolk and Double-A Bowie this season. ... Going into last night's start, left-hander Garrett Olson continued to lead the league in strikeouts with 117 and ranked second in ERA at 2.95. He was sixth in innings pitched with 125. Olson hadn't lost since June 4, going 6-0 with a 1.17 ERA in eight starts covering 54 innings. ... Catcher Alberto Castillo reached base safely in 17 of 18 games before yesterday and was batting .360 during a seven-game hitting streak.

Double-A Bowie

Nolan Reimold, recovered from a strained oblique muscle, returned to the lineup and homered Saturday for the first time since April 14. ... Third baseman Oscar Salazar entered the weekend ranked third in the Eastern League with 71 RBIs. He led Bowie with 16 homers and ranked second with 54 runs. ... Second baseman Paco Figueroa had five multi-hit games in nine games before suffering an ankle injury over the weekend. He led the team with 58 runs, 43 walks and 15 stolen bases, and was second with a .377 on-base percentage. ... Felix Romero posted a 1.43 ERA in an eight-game span. He struck out 78 batters in 61 2/3 innings. ... Nick McCurdy had a 1.91 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 19 games.

Single-A Frederick

Spoone pitched a five-hit complete game Saturday. ... Bob McCrory ranked fourth in the Carolina League with 14 saves. ... Dan Lonsberry went 1-0 with a 2.16 ERA and 16 strikeouts in seven July games covering 16 2/3 innings. ... First baseman Mark Fleisher hit .308 with six homers and 17 RBIs in July. ... Before the weekend, Ryan Finan led the Keys with 10 homers and 58 RBIs. ... Though he was batting .266 heading into the weekend, second baseman Jon Tucker posted a .358 on-base percentage and led Frederick with 57 runs.

Single-A Delmarva

The Shorebirds no-hit Asheville for 7 1/3 innings Saturday, with starter Wilfrido Perez working the first five. Luis Lebron gave up one hit and struck out eight over three innings. ... Perez was 2-0 with a 1.96 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 23 innings in July. ... Third baseman Billy Rowell had two hits and an RBI on Saturday to raise his average to .277. Rowell batted .291 with 17 RBIs and 13 runs in July. ... First baseman Brandon Snyder batted .380 in July. ... Brett Bordes was 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 14 innings last month.

Short-season teams

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