It had been almost a year to the day since the Rangers had seen this version of Jonathan Hernández, and the hints of dominance the right-hander displayed last week had to be a welcome sight.Texas' No. 8 prospect tossed seven scoreless innings for Double-A Frisco, striking out 10 for the
It had been almost a year to the day since the Rangers had seen this version of Jonathan Hernández, and the hints of dominance the right-hander displayed last week had to be a welcome sight.
Texas' No. 8 prospect tossed seven scoreless innings for Double-A Frisco, striking out 10 for the first time this season and earning the title of Texas League Pitcher of the Week. Hernandez allowed three hits and didn't walk a batter in his lone start, laying the foundation for the RoughRiders' 6-5 win over Corpus Christi on Friday.
Hernandez last reached double digits in strikeouts on May 30, 2018, when he fanned a career-high 11 in eight scoreless frames for Class A Advanced Down East. Sure enough, he earned Pitcher of the Week honor in the Carolina League for that performance, too. (His first Pitcher of the Week award came in May 2017 with Class A Hickory of the South Atlantic League.)
• View the Offensive Player of the Week winners »
Last week's blanking of the Hooks marked the first scoreless start for Hernandez this season and his first without allowing a free pass. The 22-year-old at one point retired nine batters in a row and allowed just one runner to reach second base all game. The outing shaved nearly an entire run off his ERA, bringing the figure down to 5.47 and dropping his WHIP to 1.48.
"My consistency of getting ahead of the hitters and getting myself the chance to work with good counts," he told MiLB.com last week. "That was the biggest key."
The award-worthy showing resembled what Hernandez did to first earn a promotion to the Texas League last season. In 10 starts with the Wood Ducks, he struck out 77 batters while allowing 14 earned runs on 37 hits -- good for a 2.20 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. He flashed signs of that upon joining the RoughRiders in June, posting zeroes in three of his 12 starts, but saw his strikeout-to-walk ratio slide from 4.53 to 1.58. Opponents hit .247 off him after managing just a .194 average in the Carolina League.
Hernandez grew up in the Dominican Republic but was born in Memphis while his dad, Fernando, played in Double-A. He signed with Texas for $300,000 in 2013 and has seen his stuff steadily improve over the years. His once 90-mph fastball can now reach 99 mph, per MLB.com. His slider has added quickness, and he possesses both a 50-grade changeup and curveball. Should he be able to consistently harness his command as he did last week, he projects as a mid-rotation starter.
Below is the complete list of Minor League Pitchers of the Week for May 27-June 2:
Joe Bloss is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @jtbloss.