Ariel Hernandez, a right handed reliever who spent his season split between the Low-A Dayton Dragons and the Advanced-A Daytona Tortugas has been added to the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster.

To make room on the roster the team designated left handed pitcher John Lamb for assignment. Lamb recently underwent back surgery for the second straight offseason and isn’t expected to be ready to start the 2017 season on time.

Ariel Hernandez was a Triple-A Rule 5 draft pick last season. He had a big time fastball and good breaking ball, but he had never shown any ability to throw strikes at a reasonable rate, walking nearly 9.0 batters per 9-innings pitched in his career before joining the Reds organization.

The team took a risk on him, just $12,000 to draft him last December from the Diamondbacks. It paid off in a big way as the right hander made big time strides in his ability to throw strikes. While he still walked way more guys than you’d like, 5.7 walks per 9-innings pitched, it was a big step forward. He also flashed some of the best raw stuff in the entire organization and easily the best among the relievers.

He began the year in Dayton and posted a 2.59 ERA in 31.1 innings with 20 walks and 40 strikeouts. He then moved up to Daytona and joined the Tortugas bullpen where he posted an ERA of 1.76 in 30.2 innings to go along with 19 walks and 34 strikeouts.

He would have been eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft if he wasn’t added to the 40-man roster. That’s not a concern any longer, though it comes as no real surprise as he’s exactly the kind of player who gets selected. Enormous arm that’s rough around the edges.

The organization has a bunch more of tough decisions to make when it comes to protecting, or leaving unprotected, players in the next 30 days. This is just the first domino to fall.

11 Responses

  1. sultanofswaff

    That’s as nasty a curveball as you’ll see from a rhp.

    Doug, do you expect any more pitchers removed from the 40 man over the winter?

    • Doug Gray

      Absolutely. I expect a purge of probably 8-10 players from the 40-man as a whole before spring training gets here.

    • DaveCT

      Tommy Kohn and now rep back surgeries. Perhaps there’s a Travis Wood role for him if/when he gets back.

      • MK

        I could see a team with roster space picking him up and placing him on the 60-day DL at the end of Spring Training and leaving him there for the year.

  2. DHud

    I understand he took a step forward this year, and I understand there is literally zero risk in this move other than the 40 man spot, but man I am just tired of watching relievers (and starters for that matter) who can’t throw strikes. How many times this year did we have to suffer through a first batter walk??

    • MK

      There are situations when it all comes together and they get it. Ariel was certainly ready to get to that point. In Dayton you could just see him gaining confidence with each appearance.

  3. Krozley

    It is a shame about Lamb, but his surgery is pretty major and from what I can tell (I think the same as what Tiger Woods had), the recovery time is 7 to 12 months. Given his injury history, I highly doubt he will pitch much/ at all in 2017 so this move makes sense. I hope he clears and they can help him with rehab with the possibility of him being back on track in 2018. As for Hernandez, he is a future closer if he can continue to cut walks a bit. Mitch Williams had a career walk rate over 7 per 9 and pitched for 11 years in the bigs, so you never know.

  4. Tct

    Hat tip to Doug. You were on this guy from the start. I thought you might have lost it when I saw his stats but I guess that’s why you can’t scout the stat line.

    Nice job.