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.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) October 27, 2016
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.