EL PASO, Texas - A year ago around this time Americas High School grad Darrell Hernaiz was signing his professional baseball contract with the Baltimore Orioles.
Fast forward to today, Hernaiz is turning heads not only around El Paso, but on the national radar as a top prospect.
“I wasn’t really proved coming out of El Paso, everybody just kind of knew like a little about me," says Hernaiz, who signed with the Orioles over a baseball scholarship at Texas Tech.
Hernaiz played last season for the Orioles Low Class-A affiliate in Sarasota, Florida, helping lead the team to a first place finish.
"And then my first year went pretty well, a lot of scouts started talking about me over there so that boosted my stock you could say, and I became a top 30 prospect in the Orioles so that was awesome.”
Prior to the MLB’s suspension of play, Darrell was on track to start this season with Baltimore’s Class A club in Maryland.
But a call in early March put a halt to that.
"Don't come tomorrow, that's pretty much what they told me. Stay in the hotel," says Darrell of the moment his coaches told him the season became in question.
"Things kept going for about another three days. And then they were booking flights for us, saying you can go home."
So Darrell is home in El Paso.
Today he got some work in with former El Paso Chihuahuas Outfielder Cody Decker, someone who knows the minor league grind well.
"He's. got amazing hands in the infield, and he's got a great idea of what he's doing with the bat," says Decker, who retired from baseball last year. "At his age, he's way ahead of the curve of where he needs to be."
At 18, Darrell is barely old enough to vote. So Decker’s greatest advice is on a part of game you can’t see.
“He already has the physical tools. The part of the game that’s the hardest right now for him going forward is going to be everything above the neck," says Decker of the baseball mentality.
"The mental part of the grind everyday, the amount of training that it takes, dealing with the failures, going 0-10 and how to break out of that, how to come back from having a bad night. How to sustain having good nights."
"That’s the toughest part of this game. And once he starts to really learn that, the skies the limit for him.”
One thing is for sure, when the season starts back up Darrel Hernaiz’s rise to the show will resume in full.
“Wherever they put me I'm ready to go. So just move up as quickly as possible, prove everybody wrong that doubted me and make it to the MLB in 2-3 years around there.”