The Athletics announced that they have claimed infielder Yonny Hernandez off waivers from the Diamondbacks. Additionally, the club has outrighted infielder Nate Mondou, left-hander Sam Selman and righties Austin Pruitt, Norge Ruiz, and Collin Wiles. The Diamondbacks also announced the claim of Hernandez, while relaying that infielder Jake Hager and right-hander Keynan Middleton cleared waivers and elected free agency.
This is one of the times on the baseball calendar when roster turnover is high, for a couple of reasons. First, there is no injured list between the World Series and Spring Training, meaning that players on the 60-day IL will soon be retaking their spots. Secondly, the deadline to add prospects to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from being selected in the Rule 5 draft is November 15. Those two factors both combine to squeeze certain players off rosters and onto waivers.
Hernandez, 25 in May, had spent all of his career in the Rangers organization until being traded to the D-Backs in April. He got into 12 MLB games this year, spending much more time in the minors. He hit .241/.349/.324 in 71 Triple-A games this year, wRC+ of 78. That’s not an especially impressive showing, but Hernandez fared much better in previous seasons and has always had good plate discipline. Despite the rough year, he still walked in 11.7% of his plate appearances and struck out in just 15.8% of them, with both of those numbers being much better than average. He’s never hit for much power though, having only hit five home runs in a minor league career that dates back to 2015. He still has options, meaning the A’s can keep him in the minors next year and try to see if they can draw something extra out of him.
Mondou, 28 in March, was just selected to the roster in October. He made his MLB debut by getting into one game where he made three hitless plate appearances, walking once and striking out once. In 108 Triple-A games, he hit .283/.374/.431 for a wRC+ of 105. Given his seven years of minor league experience, he will be eligible to elect free agency five days after the World Series.
Selman, 32 this month, has thrown 73 MLB innings over the past four seasons. He has a 4.81 ERA in that time with a 22.5% strikeout rate, 10.3% walk rate and 29.6% ground ball rate. He cut his walk rate to 6.7% in 2022 but also gave up four home runs in just 18 1/3 innings, leading to a 4.91 ERA. He’s eligible to elect free agency by virtue of having been previously outrighted in his career.
Pruitt, 33, signed a minor league deal with the A’s for 2022 and was twice selected to the roster with one DFA in between. He got into 55 1/3 innings on the season and registered a 4.23 ERA. His 17% strikeout rate was below average but he limited walks to a 4% rate and also got grounders on 45.5% of balls in play. He’s eligible to elect free agency both on account of his previous outrights and more than three years of service time.
Ruiz, 29 in March, was once a high-profile signing out of Cuba but saw his stock fade in recent years. A switch from starting to relieving in 2019 seemed to give him a boost, leading to him getting to make his MLB debut in 2022. He tossed 19 innings with a 7.11 ERA, though a .413 batting average on balls in play could indicate there’s some bad luck in there. He had a much nicer 3.73 ERA in 41 Triple-A innings. He should stick with the A’s as depth but without taking up a roster spot.
Wiles, 29 in May, got the call to the big leagues for the first time in September. He was able to log 9 2/3 MLB innings while putting up a 4.66 ERA in that small sample. He worked as a starter in the minors, logging 143 1/3 Triple-A innings with a 5.40 ERA. He limited walks to a 4.3% rate but was undone by 27 long balls in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Hager, 30 in March, appeared in 28 big league games for Arizona this year, hitting .240/.345/.280 in that time for a wRC+ of 84. He had fairly similar results in 72 Triple-A games, adding a bit more pop but walking less. He’s eligible to elect free agency based on the fact that he’s been previously outrighted in his career.
Middleton, 29, has appeared in each of the past six seasons, spending time with the Angels and Mariners before suiting up with the Diamondbacks in 2022. He tossed 17 innings in the majors and another 17 in Triple-A this year, with better results in the minors. He had a 5.29 ERA in the bigs along with a 2.12 ERA for Reno. He is eligible to elect free agency both because of he has more than three years of MLB service time and a previous career outright.