The Value of Ramon Hernandez is Dropping Fast

He probably only cost you a buck in your auction or a 23rd round pick in your 12-team, two-catcher, mixed league snake draft.  Not a very steep price to pay at all.  But the handwriting is already on the wall and it’s only a matter of time before Ramon Hernandez becomes a wasted pick for you.  Wilin Rosario is the catcher-of-the-future in Colorado and when he made the 25-man roster over this past weekend, Hernandez and his owners are learning that the future is now.

There’s really nothing wrong with Hernandez actually.  As a part-time player with the Reds, he was a very passable second catcher in fantasy leagues.  There hasn’t been much left in the power department, but he gets his knocks, and who wouldn’t want a backstop who atleast hit for a decent average?  He gets a little more than half a season’s at-bats, is capable of banging 10 home runs and has hit better than .280 for the last two seasons.  Nothing special, but you get what you pay for, right?

But despite the fact that he’s working off a brand new, two-year contract with the Rockies this season, Rosario making the team out of spring training means that there is no “long haul” for Hernandez.  He hasn’t caught 100 games in three years, so you knew whoever his back-up would be, he [Hernandez] would still only be working part-time.  The fact that it happens to be Rosario, could reduce the role Hernandez plays even more.

The hype on Rosario has been in play for some time now.  When the Rockies signed him at the age of 17, he had already exhibited plus power and solid defensive potential.  He moved through the system well, showed moderate plate discipline, posted strong isolated power numbers and above average catch and throw skills.  They knew they had something big here.  And when he injured his knee at the end of 2010, he proved to be both mature and resilient and bounced back with a strong enough 2011 season in Double-A to warrant a call-up to the majors rather than a promotion to Triple-A.

Upon his call-up, Rosario may have struck out a ton (35.1%), but who wouldn’t expect that from a 22-year old in the show for the first time?  But in 57 plate appearances, he also hit three home runs, three doubles and had eight RBI, posting a .259 ISO.  He looked comfortable behind the plate and you knew it was just a short matter of time before he was a regular fixture out there.  So much so that the Rockies cast off Chris Iannetta and brought in an aging Hernandez, yes to catch, but more to mentor.

Now here we are in spring training…

Rosario has hit .412 with four home runs, six doubles and has 12 RBI through 51 plate appearances while Hernandez has batted .222 with almost no power in just 35 spring at-bats.  Sure, it’s a small sample size, but word out of Colorado is that Rosario has displayed enough here to, not only earn the back-up job, but to catch atleast two or three times a week right from the onset.  And as the season progresses, if things remain as they are, that playing time should continue to increase.

So if you drafted Hernandez, hopefully you used a bench spot to grab yourself Rosario as well.  It might take half the season, but if this recent trend continues, he should be the primary sooner rather than later.  It might not be a total loss though.  Given how reasonable his contract is, maybe Hernandez becomes a late-season trade chip and you’re able to use both….just not in Colorado.

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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

7 Responses to “The Value of Ramon Hernandez is Dropping Fast”

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  1. mcbrown says:

    Eh, if you drafted Hernandez in anything but the deepest of leagues I assume you must have been expecting to churn through the waiver wire at some point anyway. No reason to waste a bench spot to back up a replacement level catcher in most formats. And even in deeper formats there have to be better uses of your bench than a backup catcher.

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    • S. John says:

      I don’t know about that. Assuming you missed out on a top tier catcher you still need to fill 100-150 at bats for most starting catchers spots and having the Hern/Rosario pair pretty much guarantees to have one or the other playing each day. I’ll take a steady .280 with possibly enhanced power at Coors backed by a youngster that rakes and could take top billing earlier rather than later.

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      • Socrates says:

        Swapping them only work if you play in a daily league. I dont know how many people play in daily leagues, but I am in 8 leagues total and dont do ANY daily leagues.

        All my leagues play two catchers. In the 2 I have already drafted (14 team mixed leagues), I had Rosario on my list as a possible late round backup. I have Napoli in one of the leagues and figured I could move him to 1B if Rosario got the job sometime this summer. I actually didnt end up with him (Ianetta and Soto in 1, and Carlos Santana and Soto in the other).

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  2. mcbrown says:

    I suppose it comes down to league format, as usual. If you have sufficient bench slots to maximize catcher at-bats without sacrificing at-bats elsewhere, by all means do so. In leagues where you have to make a tradeoff because of bench depth, I would rather squeeze 50 extra at-bats out of any other position, or 60 innings from a good non-closing reliever in IP-capped leagues, than 100 at-bats out of a replacement-level catcher. Frankly, in those leagues I occasionally go catcher-less at the beginning of the season if I can’t get an above-average guy, and stream as needed/desired after taking a little time to evaluate the rest of my roster and possibly make some trades.

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  3. Mark W says:

    There is only one slight problem with this. That is that the Rockies are clinically insane. Rosario is a stud prospect, but he hit .249 in AA last year in 402 at bats. Then he came up and struck out in over a third of his at bats, against watered-down September pitching at that. What magical development happened over the winter to turn THAT player into THIS one? (Hint: it probably wasn’t his winter ball experience, in which he hit .230 with 48 K’s in 183 at bats.)

    Count on the small-sample-size gullible Tracy-O’Dowd Show to fall for this, promote a prospect prematurely, setting in motion his service time clock, setting back his development in terms of playing time, and possibly strike a blow to his confidence if he hits .150 in April and then finally ends up in AAA, where he belongs in the first place.

    I HOPE I’m wrong since I have Rosario in one of my teams’ farm systems. I’m quite annoyed that I have to activate him now just to watch him sit, because Tracy and O’Dowd are such morons. They fell for the small sample size last April, assuming that Ian Stewart’s bad 40 at bats were more predictive than his previous 1,000, during which he had LED the Rockies in HR/AB.

    It’s like the entire front office has ADHD and the Ritalin ran out years ago. “Oh look, that Mario Mendoza guy went 3-for-4 today! I bet he wins the batting title next year, Dan! Oh look, that Ruth guy struck out 4 times. Let’s cut him! Oh look, a bird!”

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  4. shmmrname says:

    If you have the roster flexibility and you’re in a daily league – I think the Colorado combo could be a good 2nd C gamble. Hernandez and Hanigan provided plenty for their price tag, if you had both the roster flexibility and time management dedication to utilize them.

    If it’s an option in you’re league – I would certainly take the gamble, especially given everything being written about Rosario’s upside.

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