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Baseball America top RH pitcher rankings include three Rangers

Three Texas Rangers minor leaguers crack Baseball America’s list of the top righthanded pitching prospects in baseball

MLB: Texas Rangers-Media Day Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Baseball America’s 2019 rankings of the top righthanded pitching prospects in baseball are out, and the Texas Rangers have three guys who make the cut.

Hans Crouse is the top ranked Ranger righty, coming in at #24 on the BA rankings, right behind Brady Singer, who was a first round pick by the Kansas City Royals in 2018. Cole Winn, the Rangers’ 2018 #1 pick, checks in at #39 on the list, while Jonathan Hernandez is at #43.

While Crouse and Winn are a ways away — Crouse will likely start 2019 in low-A Hickory, while Winn seems likely to go to Spokane in the short-season Northwest League to start the year — Hernandez could be in a Rangers uniform fairly quickly. He was a somewhat surprising addition to the 40 man roster after the 2017 season, but he had a breakout year in 2018, putting up a scintillating 2.20 ERA in 57.1 IP over 10 starts for Down East, with 77 Ks against 17 walks.

His performance in the Carolina League earned him a promotion to AA Frisco, where he initially struggled to make adjustments and to keep his high-effort delivery in alignment, but he finished the year strong, striking out 27 in 23.2 innings over his final four starts, walking 10 and allowing just 3 runs — good for a 1.14 ERA, with a .167/.270/.244 slash line allowed.

While there’s still some question about whether Hernandez will be a starter or a reliever long-term, Texas will continue to use him in the rotation for now, likely in AA to start the year, and he is one of the pitchers who would be in the mix to get a mid-season callup should the rotation need reinforcements. Barring injury or disaster, he almost certainly will be in Arlington at some point in 2019.