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Darell Hernaiz Makes Athletics’ Opening Day Roster

Darell Hernaiz Makes Athletics' Opening Day Roster

Infielder Darell Hernaiz will open the season in the majors, Oakland manager Mark Kotsay told reporters (including Jason Burke of Inside The A’s) this evening. Hernaiz was selected to the club’s 40-man roster back in November ahead of last year’s Rule 5 Draft, and his first appearance with the club this year will be his major league debut.

Hernaiz, 22, was a fifth-round pick by the Orioles in the 2019 draft and was swapped to the A’s in the deal that sent left-hander Cole Irvin to Baltimore last January. The youngster enjoyed something of a breakout campaign during his first season in Oakland last year as he slashed .321/.386/.456 in 131 games split between the Double- and Triple-A levels. Hernaiz offered little in the way of power as he hit just nine home runs last year, but the youngster showed impressive on-base skills with a fantastic 13.4% strikeout rate against a solid 8.9% walk rate. Hernaiz also has plus speed, as shown by his 54-for-64 record on the basepaths with the Orioles during the 2021 and 2022 seasons, though he swiped just 13 bags in 18 attempts with the A’s last year.

After splitting time between shortstop as well as second and third base during his time with the Orioles, Hernaiz has played shortstop almost exclusively with the A’s. In 2023, he made 13 appearances at the keystone and just one at the hot corner compared to a whopping 112 at shortstop. That changed this spring, however, as Hernaiz split time between his native shortstop and third base in hopes of improving his odds of making the big league roster due to the club’s vacancy out the hot corner. While the acquisition of veteran infielder J.D. Davis has plugged the gap at third in Oakland for the time being, the mid-spring addition didn’t stop the A’s from offering Hernaiz a spot on the big league roster to open the season after he hit a decent .313/.340/.333 during camp while striking out just 16.9% of the time across 53 spring at-bats.

Looking ahead to the regular season, Hernaiz figures to provide the A’s with a quality glove all around the infield off the bench, providing insurance behind Davis, shortstop Nick Allen, and second baseman Zack Gelof. The youngster’s high contract rates, solid plate discipline, and plus speed also figure to make him a useful bench piece who can be deployed as a pinch hitter and runner. Should injuries or ineffectiveness force a change in the club’s infield mix at some point in the season, Hernaiz figures to compete…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at Oakland Athletics – MLB Trade Rumors…