Hernandez excited to pitch in Futures Game

Father will be in stands to see him fulfill a life-long dream

July 9th, 2017

ARLINGTON -- Former Tigers pitcher Fernando Hernandez will be at Marlins Park in Miami this afternoon to watch his son Jonathan pitch in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, which can be viewed live at 3 p.m. CT on MLB Network and MLB.com.
But Jonathan Hernandez, the No. 18 ranked prospect in the Rangers' farm system by MLB Pipeline, has bigger dreams than that.
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"Obviously I have a burning desire to play in the Major Leagues," Hernandez said. "Everybody who puts on a uniform wants to make it. But one of my dreams is for my dad to be in the stadium and to see me pitch in the big leagues. After what he went through, it would be awesome for one of his kids to reach the Major Leagues."
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Fernando Hernandez's Major League career amounted to two games with the Tigers in 1997. But he still had a long professional career, beginning with the Indians' Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team in 1990, ending in 2005 pitching in Mexico. He won 14 games pitching in Korea in 2001.
"My father has had a major impact on me," Hernandez said. "Obviously it's a blessing to have a father who was in baseball at the highest level of the game. That's awesome. But my relationship with my father is phenomenal. He is my No. 1 fan. He is both my biggest supporter and my biggest critic."
Jonathan Hernandez grew up in the Dominican Republic, but he was actually born 21 years ago on July 6, 1996, in Memphis, Tenn., where his dad was pitching in the Padres' farm system.
Detroit acquired Fernando Hernandez from San Diego for outfielder Justin Mashore, who is now Texas' assistant hitting coach. Hernandez was briefly a teammate with Rangers pitching coach Doug Brocail.
"My dad was always chasing his dream," Hernandez said. "We don't talk about his time in the Major Leagues as much as just the trajectory of his career, all the places he pitches. One thing that impressed me was his longevity and how long he stayed in the game, staying healthy and keeping his arm going."
Jonathan is a different pitcher than his father. Fernando Hernandez was a two-pitch pitcher with a fastball and a changeup. Jonathan has five pitches, more polished and is still filling out a 6-foot-2 frame. His velocity is increasing, and so is his knowledge of the game.
Hernandez is 3-4 with a 5.25 ERA in a combined 14 starts for Class A Hickory and Down East. He has also been streaky. He was 2-3 with a 2.80 ERA in his first seven starts, followed by four straight games giving up 25 earned runs over 19 innings. He followed that with 13 scoreless innings over his next two starts, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out 13.
"This year has been up and down, but it has taught me to stay diligent on the things that I can control, like my daily routine," Hernandez said. "It's also showed me what I am capable of doing, and that has really raised my confidence level."
He understands what it will take to achieve his dream.