Diamond In The Rough : Brian Hernandez

Diamond In The Rough : Brian Hernandez

Somehow, with all the media that surrounds us, and the immediate breaking news due to social media, there are still gems in the Angels farm system. Brian Hernandez is a Diamond In The Rough.

Hidden in the depths of every farm system, are players who do remarkable things, play the game the right way, have all the right tools, but are somehow still hidden. For the Los Angeles Angels, one of those players is Brian Hernandez.

Hernandez has spent the four years of his life playing professional baseball with the Angels affiliate teams. His numbers have always been solid, but he has had a standout year in the toughest of elements.

Hernandez, a corner infielder, found himself heading to the Angels High-A affiliate, Inland Empire for the third straight year of his four years in professional baseball. Not an ideal spot for a guy trying to work his way to his dream.

"I was pretty frustrated to be honest," said Hernandez. "It was a frustrating situation, but I tried to be as positive as I could. So I keep playing, hopefully I move up."

On April 23rd, Hernandez did move up, getting a callup to Double-A Arkansas, where his season took an immediate bolt upwards.

Hernandez has put on a clinic at the plate in a pitcher friendly league. He's currently chasing just his teammate, Alex Yarbrough, for the league lead in hits, and is in a hunt for the Texas League batting title, with his .306 batting average. However, Hernandez doesn't focus on the numbers, but instead the bigger picture.

"Winning the Texas League championship would be the ideal goal. There's nothing like it. All the personal accolades, they all come second. The reason we play the game is to win and it's because there's nothing like it."

Hernandez was a large part of a championship run last year with the Inland Empire 66ers, who won the California League title. This year, he's helped put the Arkansas Travelers in the playoffs, and has the dream of lifting that trophy over his head again with a group of similar teammates.

"It would mean a successful season. That's what you try to do. Try to come in and win and hopefully that's something we can. We know this group has done it before so hopefully we keep playing well at the right time."

A winning spirit is inside all of us, but many of us fold under pressure. For Brian Hernandez, big games bring an emotion he strives for.

"They're dramatic games, I'm getting chills just thinking about it. There's no word to describe it. You definitely feel the pressure, but you have to find a way to channel that energy, try to refocus and tell your yourself it's just another when you really know it's not just another game. But to be able to perform at your best you have to remind yourself of that."

For Hernandez, it's been his best offensive year, in the toughest league he's played in.

It seems like some change would have come, in the help of a form of a hitting coach. However, that's not the case for Hernandez who's reasoning for a good season comes from his own strengths, and his own adjustments.

"I feel like the best hitting coaches are the ones that kind of let you figure out stuff on your own. When you look a little off, they pull you back in and let you know what your keys are. But, Tom [Tornincasa] has done a good job of that and let's you try and figure it out on your own which is nice to do."

Despite a strong season, Hernandez still comes up with the struggles of the depth charts in the Angels farm system, as he's in a small road block due to his primary defensive positions. However, Hernandez has stayed positive about this factor in his career and is doing his best to find his own ways around it.

"I'd be blind to say I don't see that, but baseball is always going to be like that. There's always going to be someone ahead of you. If I get caught up and worry about the things I can't control, that's when you get in trouble. That's what I was doing in the beginning, worrying about things I couldn't control and letting it effect the way I played. The second I realized it doesn't matter who's in front of me, as long as I do what I have to do and what I'm capable of, it'll take care of itself. I think that's one of the biggest things that changed this season is that I came into that and accepted that I can't control those things so I'll control what I can and focus on what I can do."

For Brian Hernandez, the dream of playing Major League Baseball started at a young age, and hasn't gone away. He still plans and dreams of the day he steps out onto a Major League field, and plays the game he loves for the sake of winning in the game he loves. Until then, he's just going to play the game, and do it his way.

"Only time will tell, I'm not gonna worry about too much else. I'm going to play the game the way I know how to play the game and hopefully it takes care of itself."

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