Yoel Alejandro Hernandez
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 210 lbs.
- Debut May 5, 2007
- Final Game August 19, 2007
- Born April 15, 1980 in Ciudad Bolivar, Bolivar, Venezuela
Hernandez was signed by scout Jesus Mendez for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1998. He debuted professionally in 1999 with the La Victoria club in the Venezuelan Summer League, going 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA. Making it to the USA in 2000, Yoel pitched very well for the GCL Phillies, going 4-1 with a 1.35 ERA. Opponents hit .183 against the right-hander. He led the Gulf Coast League in ERA, made the All-Star team as the top starting pitcher and was named the #6 prospect in the GCL by Baseball America, two spots ahead of Grady Sizemore.
The young Venezuelan spent 2001 with the Lakewood BlueClaws, going 6-9 with a 3.47 ERA, similar numbers to top prospect Taylor Buchholz. Hernandez struck out 111 batters. Baseball America rated him the #10 prospect in the Phillies chain.
Hernandez had a rough 2002 with the Clearwater Phillies, leading the Florida State League in losses (16, while winning 7). he also led in innings pitched (170) and tied for the lead in games started (28). He lost the most games in the Phillies system. His peripheral stats and ERA (3.54) were fine, so lack of run support and bad luck may have been the primary problems.
Hernandez moved to the bullpen in 2003 but struggled. Opponents hit .335 against him in 43 games for the Reading Phillies, but he was 6-3 with 2 saves and a 4.26 ERA. He also made it to AAA for two games, allowing two runs in three innings for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. In 2004, Hernandez again was with Reading (1-2, 6 Sv, 2.01, 33 K in 31 1/3 IP) and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (0-0, 6.46 in 14 games).
The shifting teams remained the case in 2005 as Yoel pitched for the Clearwater Threshers (1-1, 11.81 in 4 games), Reading (2-0, 1.32 in 9 games) and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (6-4, 3 Sv, 3.40, 52 K in 55 2/3 IP).
Hernandez started 2006 on a high note, going 1-0 with six saves and a 1.74 ERA in 9 games, but then strained his right shoulder and did not pitch after May 4. Yoel was one of the last cuts for the Phillies in spring training of 2007. When Tom Gordon was injured, Hernandez was called up temporarily. He had been 1-0 with 3 saves and a 3.68 ERA for the Ottawa Lynx and was concerned about being sent to AA when he was called to the manager's office. Hernandez debuted in The Show on May 5th, relieving Fabio Castro in the 8th inning against the San Francisco Giants. He allowed a three-run homer to the first batter he faced, Pedro Feliz. He got Edgardo Alfonzo on a grounder, allowed a single to his boyhood idol Omar Vizquel and fanned pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen. He ended up making 14 appearances, all in relief, for the Phillies that season, with no decisions and a 5.28 ERA, for the only major league action of his career.
Hernandez played for Venezuela in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.