The son of Fernando Hernandez, who pitched in two games for the 1997 Tigers, Jonathan was born in Memphis while his dad was in Double-A but grew up in the Dominican Republic. After signing for $300,000 in January 2013, he stood out for his polish until his velocity surged when he reached full-season ball in 2016. He's still figuring out how to harness his arsenal but that didn't stop him from jumping from Double-A to the big leagues last August.
Hernandez began his pro career with a sinker that sat around 90 mph and now works at 93-97 and tops out at 99 with nearly as much horizontal as vertical movement but plenty of both. He averaged 97 mph while working mostly in relief during his big league debut, though his heater got hammered because he didn't locate it well. He also throws a plus slider/cutter in the upper 80s and flashes an average changeup with fade that gets too firm at times.
If Hernandez could combine his present stuff with his previous pitchability, he could become a mid-rotation starter. He has battled inconsistent control and command while posting a 5.06 ERA in Double-A the last two seasons. He could wind up as a multi-inning reliever, the role in which he had the most initial success in the Majors.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 60 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 50
The son of Fernando Hernandez, who pitched in two games for the 1997 Tigers, Jonathan was born in Memphis while his dad was in Double-A but grew up in the Dominican Republic. Signed for $300,000 in January 2013, he made an initial impression with his advanced feel for polish for a teenager. His velocity jumped once he got to full-season ball in 2016 and he now has some of the best pure stuff in the system, though he's still learning to harness it.
After sitting around 90 mph with sink on his fastball earlier in his career, Hernandez now deals at 93-97 mph and can reach 99, getting groundouts with his two-seamer and throwing his four-seamer by hitters up in the strike zone. His slider has gotten quicker as well and now grades as a plus pitch that can lock up right-handers, and he has an effective curveball as well. His changeup has also improved, with its tumble helping him handle left-handers, though it can get a bit firm at times.
To become a mid-rotation starter, Hernandez will need to pair his present stuff with his previous control and command. He got knocked around in Double-A in the second half of 2018 because he couldn't locate his pitches as well as he needed to. He has a history of starting slow and then adjusting to each new level, so the Rangers are eager to see how he fares in '19.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 50
The son of ex-big leaguer Fernando Hernandez, Jonathan was born in Memphis while his dad was pitching in Double-A but grew up in the Dominican Republic. Signed for $300,000 in January 2013, he initially stood out with his pitchability until his velocity took a leap when he made his full-season debut in 2016. He's still learning to harness his improved stuff but pitched in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game last July and posted a 1.60 ERA in his final six starts in high Class A, including the playoffs as Down East shared the Carolina League title.
Hernandez worked around 90 mph with good sink on his fastball until his arm speed began translating into more heat two years ago, and he now works at 93-96 mph and tops out at 98. He can get groundouts with his two-seamer or throw his four-seamer by hitters up in the strike zone. His slider has also added velocity and become a solid pitch, and his tumbling changeup can be equally effective at times but too firm at others.
If Hernandez can combine his present stuff with his former polish, he could be a No. 4 starter. He did a better job of maintaining his strength through a full season in 2017, though his control still isn't as sharp as it was earlier in his career. His father didn't break through to the big leagues until he was 25 but he's two years ahead of that schedule.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
Another product of the Rangers' extensive international scouting efforts, Hernandez signed for $300,000 in January 2013. The son of ex-big leaguer Fernando Hernandez, Jonathan was born in Memphis while his dad was a Double-A pitcher there but grew up in the Dominican Republic. Previously known more for his polish than his power, he added velocity when he made the jump to Class A at age 19 last year.
After sitting around 90 mph with good sink on his fastball in 2015, Hernandez worked at 91-94 and hit 97 last season. He continued to create groundouts but didn't command his heater as well as he had previously. He has good feel for a tumbling changeup that currently grades better than is slider, with both pitches showing the potential to become at least average.
In his first taste of full-season ball, Hernandez tired in the second half. Adding strength should help with his durability and his ability to repeat his delivery, which drifted offline from the plate more than usual in 2016. There's still projection remaining in his lean frame, so there could be more velocity to come.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 45
The son of Fernando Hernandez, who pitched in two games for the 1997 Tigers, Jonathan was born in Memphis but grew up in the Dominican Republic. Part of the Rangers' $8.4 million international spending spree in 2013, he signed for $300,000 and has recorded a 2.45 ERA in three years of Rookie ball.
Extremely polished for his age, Hernandez easily handled the challenges of making his U.S. debut at age 18 and shows the makings of three pitches that should be at least average. He sits around 90 mph with sink on his fastball and hit 95 during instructional league. Hernandez already has added 25 pounds since turning pro and could have plus velocity once he's physically developed.
Hernandez has good feel for his offspeed pitches, a slider that he needs to tighten and a changeup with tumble. He has a sound delivery and repeats it well, giving him good control and promising command. While Hernandez may not have more of a ceiling than No. 4 starter, he's a safe bet to remain in the rotation and could advance quickly.