Red Sox acquire catcher Hernandez from Rays
Red Sox pitchers and catchers are scheduled to hold their first Spring Training workouts on Thursday. On Wednesday, the organization added one new backstop to the group. Boston acquired Ronaldo Hernandez along with infield prospect Nick Sogard from Tampa Bay on Wednesday in a trade that sent pitchers Chris Mazza,
Red Sox pitchers and catchers are scheduled to hold their first Spring Training workouts on Thursday. On Wednesday, the organization added one new backstop to the group.
Ranked as the No. 14 talent in the Rays system prior to the deal, Hernandez instantly becomes the top catching prospect in the Red Sox organization upon his arrival. In fact, no full-time catchers were ranked among Boston's top 30 prospects at the end of the 2020 season. The 23-year-old was a Top-100 prospect, but dropped out of such status following a slight downturn in performance over the last few seasons.
Hernandez gained notoriety during the 2018 season when he clubbed 21 homers (second in the Midwest League) and finished with a .284/.339/.494 line over 109 games for Class A Bowling Green. However, that slash line fell to .265/.299/.397, and his homer output plummeted to only nine over 103 games the following campaign with Class A Advanced Charlotte. Hernandez has also faced questions about his receiving abilities behind the plate, though he does showcase a strong arm capable of controlling opposing basestealing threats.
The Colombia native's calling card remains his plus right-handed power, specifically to the pull side. All of Hernandez's home runs have been to left field or left-center, and that type of pop could become an asset if he makes it to Fenway Park and takes regular aim at the short porch that is the Green Monster.
This is the spray chart for all of Ronaldo Hernandez’s Minor League home runs.— Sam Dykstra (@SamDykstraMiLB) February 17, 2021
He could be real, real good friends with the Green Monster. #RedSox pic.twitter.com/dMIsvvjTAM
Sogard, 23, was a 12th-round pick by the Rays in the 2019 Draft out of Loyola Marymount. The switch-hitter batted .290/.405/.313 with no homers, five doubles and 20 stolen bases in 63 games with Class A Short Season Hudson Valley in his one taste of Minor League action. He played primarily at shortstop but also made 21 starts at third base and three at second.
The right-handed Mazza and left-handed Springs had both been designated for assignment by Boston earlier this month and will head instead to another spot in the AL East. Mazza posted a 4.80 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 30 innings for the Red Sox last season. He made nine appearances, six of which were starts. Springs pitched exclusively out of the bullpen and gave up 16 earned runs over 20 1/3 frames, though he did fan 28 in that span.
This is the third trade ever completed between the Red Sox and Rays. The first came in July 1999 when Julio Santana was sent to Boston for Will Silverhorn and cash. The second came back in 2018 when the two sides exchanged
Sam Dykstra is a reporter for MiLB.com. Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.