Baseball America’s latest updated top 100 prospect list is out, and the Texas Rangers now have four players on the list, with Down East pitcher Jonathan Hernandez sneaking into the list at #100. Still on the list from their last version are Willie Calhoun at #38, Leody Taveras at #45 and Julio Pablo Martinez at #53.
Hernandez has been the breakout story in the Rangers farm system this year — even after a rough 3 IP, 4 run outing his last time out for the High-A Wood Ducks, Hernandez has a 2.20 ERA in 57.1 IP over 10 starts this year, with 77 strikeouts against just 17 walks. He was added to the 40 man roster last season, despite having a solid, but unspectacular, 2017 split between low-A and high-A, and he’s rewarding the Rangers’ decision. BA says his slider is a potential plus pitch, and his changeup “flashes above-average to plus,” which goes well with his mid-90s fastball. If he can continue progressing and improve his command, he’s a potential #3/#4 starting pitcher in the majors.
Given Hernandez’s success this year and time at Down East in 2017, I suspect a promotion to Frisco will happen at some point this season. The first half ends for the Carolina League later this month, and the Rangers could have Hernandez appear in the Carolina League All Star Game and then promote him to Frisco after that.