Last night was Chicago Cubs prospect Cristian Hernández’s long-awaited stateside debut, playing in the Arizona Complex League for the ACL Cubs.
So well-regarded was Hernández as an international prospect that he not only netted the largest IFA bonus in Cubs history, but he was already seeing some time on top 100 lists as a 17/18-year-old before he’d even made his debut over here in the United States. The physical comps have been so otherworldly that I hesitate even to share them. (It’s Alex Rodriguez and Manny Machado. Don’t do that to the kid …. )
How do you live up to that hype when you play in your first game in the United States?
You hit a homer in your very first at bat, naturally:
Here we go.. pic.twitter.com/HQv0UGqUEZ
— PurpleJesus (@Waddy555) June 7, 2022
That sound was LOUD. I also love hearing the crowd reaction, including – I think – the videographer there saying, quizzically, “Was that a bomb?!?!” (gleeful laughter follows)
Look again at just how lofted that ball was, and you’ll even better understand how those watching in attendance couldn’t believe it went out:
— John Antonoff (@baseballinfocus) June 7, 2022
Sure, some of that is because the ball is coming toward the camera, creating a little bit of an illusion that it’s more of a pop up than it was. But still, that’s not a perfectly laced ball, and it’s going to the opposite field. For that thing to carry 380+ feet is pretty wild. Oh, and then you remember that Cristian Hernández is still a skinny 18-year-old who is going to fill out a lot more. That homer is special.
And it’s only the very first one.
Opening night for the 2022 Arizona Complex League (ACL) and watched #Cubs top 5 prospect Cristian Hernandez's state-side debut. HR and a single in 5 PA's. Amazing talent but also has things to work on before being promoted to the next level! #CubsProspects #ACL2022 pic.twitter.com/0mHyCAzkXN
— Rich Biesterfeld (@biest22) June 7, 2022