Just Filthy: Texas Rangers RHP Jonathan Hernandez Shines in Sim Outing
By Kenneth Nash
In the first summer workout for the Texas Rangers, Jonathan Hernandez opened eyes and looked as sharp as ever on the mound.
The Texas Rangers finally made their long awaited return to action on Friday getting their first summer workout underway as we gear up for a brief, but needed, MLB season. Friday’s workout at Globe Life Field featured a number of known faces for Rangers faithful and brought some excitement to the game of baseball in Arlington for the first time in what seems like a long time.
The standout performer from Friday’s workout was easily right-hander Jonathan Hernandez. The 23-year old, who turns 24 in two days, showed off his prowess on the mound striking out all four batters he faced in a simulated inning of work as reported by Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. “All I can say is he was absolutely filthy,” manager Chris Woodward said. “His command was probably the most impressive. He’s got elite stuff as we know. Upper 90s, ton of movement on his fastball, really good slider. Changeup was really good.”
For the Rangers, this is a welcomed sight. Hernandez was one of the most impressive players in Spring Training for Texas sitting down 13 batters in nine innings of work. His ability to continue what he showed in the spring could give the Rangers a big weapon in their pitching staff come the start of the season.
The role in which Hernandez will be utilized this season is yet to be fully determined. He spent a lot of his time developing in the Rangers’ system as a starting pitcher. Long term, Texas still seems to believe that he can work into a important piece of the starting rotation but in 2020, the starting rotation looks a little crowded. So the question then became, should Texas utilize Hernandez as a reliever in Arlington this season or should he start the season in the minors continuing to work as a starter, likely with the Triple-A Nashville rotation. With the newly formatted season though, that initial question for the Rangers has more or less been answered.
There is no doubt that Hernandez will see his fair share of time on the mound this season but he’s competing against a number of other right-handed options. Where Hernandez does have the leg up on others for playing time is that he can work multiple innings in relief, use his elite fastball in a high-leverage, late-inning situation, or operate as an extra starter when needed. MLB Pipeline has Hernandez as the 25th prospect in the Rangers organization but with his arm talent, he has the potential to emerge as a viable long-term pitching staff option for Texas.