Texas Rangers: Three Pitching Prospects to Hit the Majors this Season
By Kenneth Nash
2. Jonathan Hernandez
While you probably are familiar with Taylor Hearn, you likely haven’t heard much about Jonathan Hernandez. Son of a former big league pitcher, Hernandez has steadily climbed his way through the minors the past couple of seasons. Signed as an international free agent by Texas back in 2013, Hernandez likely will be the highest rated prospect to hit the Majors this season for the Rangers.
MLB Prospect Watch has Hernandez as the 5th ranked prospect in the organization at the close of the 2018 season. He skyrocketed up the Rangers prospect rankings after a dominant year in High-A ball and making it to Double-A Frisco.
Starting 2018 with High-A Down East, Hernandez made 10 starts for the Wood Ducks posting a winning record a 2.20 ERA. Through 57.1 innings Hernandez racked up a stunning 77 strikeouts for Down East holding opponents to a .184 average and sub-1.00 WHIP. Once he was promoted to Frisco, he did struggle a bit which isn’t that much of a shock. He made 12 starts for the RoughRiders and opponents batting average jumped to .247 and his ERA skyrocketed to 4.92. He also struggled a bit keeping his strikeout rate per inning where it was.
Like Hearn, Hernandez has an electric fastball that can sit in the upper-90’s. His breaking ball is above average and he also sports a changeup that could develop into a plus pitch. His ability to have three quality pitches make him a little more likely to stick in a rotation rather than jumping into the bullpen but he has to work on his command as many young pitchers do.
Similar to Hearn, whether the Rangers want to keep Hernandez as a starter will dictate how quickly he makes his appearance in Arlington. He brings more to the table than Hearn but also could benefit from more polishing. I would expect the Rangers to take their time more with Hernandez and if there’s a player on this list to not crack the big league roster, it would be him.