Jay Marshall (pictured above) was typical of players chosen in the Rule 5 draft: talented, but not quite ready for the majors. He had some moderate success against left-handed batters (.717 OPS against), but basically had no way to get right-handed batters out at all (.869 OPS). I think he needs another year or two in the minors. The A's spent a roster spot on him the entire season, only to lose him on waivers to the Red Sox after the year was over. (Update: and now, the A's just claimed Marshall back.)
To lose Marshall would after all that would seem like a waste of a roster spot. Then again, with all the injuries, the A's could barely find enough players to fill out the 25-man roster anyway, so who else were they going to fill that spot with? In hindsight, it would have been wiser to protect Jared Burton, who went to Cincinnati in the same Rule 5 draft, and had himself a darn good year.
Hernandez, a 49th-round draft-and-follow out of Broward (Fla.) Community College in 2002, spent two stints in the Mexican League in 2005 before spending all of 2006 at high Class A Winston-Salem. The 23-year-old pitched at Double-A Birmingham this past season and boosted his profile significantly in the Arizona Fall League.
Often compared to Twins righthander Matt Guerrier for his command and control rather than pure stuff, Hernandez is also an innings-eater with an above-average curveball.
"This is a guy someone’s going to bite on," said one National League scouting director. "He’s all guts and showed the ability to shut people down with games on the line. He profiles as more of a middle reliever, but any manager you talk to who’s had him will tell you they’re not afraid to put him in there in the ninth inning.
"His fastball can be fringy, but he’s got a pretty good curveball with a lot of depth to it, and his changeup is probably his second-best pitch."
Hernandez went 0-0, 0.00 in 12 appearances for Phoenix during his AFL season. He struck out 11 in 12 innings, walking four.
In other words, a typical A's Duchschererianistic find: a young player in another organization without impressive physical skills, but excellent statistics: 84 strikeouts, 23 walks in 85.1 IP at AA as a 22 year old. I'm sure the A's are happy with their choice.
The A's lost two of their 2002 Moneyball draft picks in the minor-league portion of the Rule 5 draft: Brant Colamarino was selected by Toronto, and Ben Fritz was taken by Detroit. Perhaps this move will help them finally reach the majors, to join 10 other major-league players (Swisher, Blanton, Brown, Teahen, Murphy, Kiger, Burton, Komine, Papelbon (didn't sign), Taubenheim (ditto)) the A's selected in that famous draft.