Rule 5 Draft addition Jose Hernandez has flashed a lot of good things so far this season, while also being set up for success with the way the Pittsburgh Pirates have used him
Rule 5 Draft additions are always wild cards. More often than not, Rule 5 additions do not work out for major league clubs. However, the early returns appear to be that the Pittsburgh Pirates have potentially mined gold in Rule 5 Draft addition Jose Hernandez.
So far this season the lefty has pithed 6.1 innings with the Pirates. Hernandez has posted a 1.42 ERA and a 2.26 FIP in these 6.1 innings pitched. He has allowed six hits, one walk, no home runs, and five strikeouts.
Hernandez's slider has looked like a plus pitch so far this season. Opposing batters are hitting and slugging just .167 off the pitch to go with a 30.0% whiff rate. His changeup has also been a plus pitch with a .286 opposing slugging percentage.
If Hernandez can continue to pitch this way then he could become a building block for the Pirate bullpen moving forward. Hernandez has pitched well thus far, but that is not the only notable thing with him. Manager Derek Shelton has also done a tremendous job of utilizing Hernandez thus far.
First and foremost, Shelton has not avoided using Hernandez. Too often relief pitchers who are Ruel 5 Draft additions are avoided liek the plague. Hernandez, however, has pitched atl east once in four of the five series the Pittsburgh Pirates have played so far this season.
Secondly, Shelton is using Hernandez in situations that set him up for success. He has been used in low-leverage situations in games that were out of hand. Hernandez has also been given the opportunity to pitch multiple innings twice, allowing 1 run on four hits, a walk, and three strikeouts combined across these outings.
Hernandez has also been given a big opportunity. In a game the Pirates won against the Boston Red Sox, Hernandez entered the game in the bottom of the 7th innng with the Pirates leading 4-1 and a Boston runner on base. Hernandez faced one batter, but struck them out looking to end the inning.
Hernandez has pitched well thus far, flushing potentially plus stuff. He's pitched in both one and multiple inning outings, as well as being used in situations that set him up for success. Shelton has also shown confidence in Hernandez with him having been used in high-leverage situations as well.
So far this season the Pittsburgh Pirates have used Hernandez in a way that has set him up for success. It's allowed him to flash his talent and he appears to be developing into a potential building block for the team's bullpen.