The Texas Rangers future is made up of the prospects currently in the organization. Which prospect continues the rankings at #9?
As we continue this offseason into Spring Training, we’re looking at the Top 25 prospects in the Texas Rangers organization. These are the players that have performed through the 2018 season and offer the most for the club moving forward.
#9: RHP, Jonathan Hernandez
Continuing our Top Prospect rankings is right-handed pitcher Jonathan Hernandez. Hernandez is another one of the bright, young arms that has the future of the Texas Rangers pitching staff looking exciting. Texas signed Hernandez as an international free agent back in 2013 for $300,000 as a 17-year old.
Hernandez opened some eyes in his first year in pro ball as a part of the Rangers Dominican Summer League team. Hernandez posted a 1.21 ERA in 44.2 innings holding opponents to a .176 batting average. He took a step back in 2014 in the same league but was still largely successful throwing 75.2 innings still maintaining a 1.18 WHIP.
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Hernandez’s first full season in pro ball came in 2016 as a part of Single-A Hickory. He made 22 starts in 24 total appearances and threw 116.1 innings. His 4.56 ERA may not jump off the stat sheet but his ability to hold up in his first 100+ inning season was a promising sign.
In 2017 Hernandez split time between Single-A Hickory and High-A Down East tying his single-season career-high 22 starts. He improved on his 2016 performance by posting a combined 4.03 ERA but struggled to keep runners off base with a 1.48 WHIP in 111.2 innings pitched.
Last season Hernandez got work with High-A Down East once again before he made the jump to Double-A Frisco. In his 10 starts in High-A, he was putting out some of the most impressive starts of his young career with a 4-2 record and 2.20 ERA. Opponents hit just .184 against him and he had a WHIP under 1.00. Hernandez’s 12 starts in Double-A weren’t quite as impressive but it was an okay foray into the upper levels of the minor league system. For the RoughRiders, Hernandez made 12 starts with a 4.92 ERA.
On the mound, Hernandez features a high-powered fastball and a sharp slider that gives him a really solid two-pitch combo. MLB Prospect Watch also notes that he has a curve and changeup that aren’t quite at the level of his top pitches. If he can work on his location he has the makings of a number 3 or 4 starter but he’ll have to make some strides in 2019.
Hernandez will start the season as part of Frisco’s starting rotation where he’ll get the opportunity to hopefully show off his improved stuff and solidify himself as one of the top prospects in the Texas Rangers organization.