In his major league career, Hernandez has made one start. He wasn’t good in that outing against the Detroit Tigers as he only lasted 2.1 innings. While he didn’t give up any runs, he definitely didn’t look comfortable out on the mound as he gave up four hits and a walk. He tight-roped his way through his first big league start.
For the rest of the 2019 season, the flame-throwing lefty was used exclusively out of the Red Sox bullpen. He was much better in that role, as on the season he pitched nine percent better than league average. While he lacked control as many hard-throwing, young relievers do, he made up for it with an otherworldly number of strikeouts.
He struck out nearly two batters per inning (16.9 SO/9)! His ERA was high, especially for a reliever, at 4.45, but a 2.75 FIP suggests he was unlucky and actually pitched very well. The Venezuelan lefty will most likely stay in the bullpen for 2020, which means his velocity and pitch movement should improve.
Much like Barnes and Workman, Hernandez walks lots of batters which is not what you need at the end of a baseball game. Much like Taylor, Hernandez is simply too young to be the closer for 2020. Drawing comparisons as the next Aroldis Chapman, with more development and experience, he could become the Red Sox closer a few years down the road.
For 2020, he will likely resume a high-leverage role similar to the end of the 2019 season. With increased progression and development, don’t be surprised to see him closing out games in 2021 for Boston.