Left-handed reliever Jose Hernandez
The Pirate bullpen will be a major question mark this season. Within the bullpen, left-handed pitching will be a major question mark of its own. This problem was only made even larger when it was announced that Jarlín García will miss "multiple weeks" with a forearm issue.
García's injury will create opportunities for multiple relievers. One of these relievers is lefty Jose Hernandez. After being selected by the Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft Hernandez was almost assuredly going to make the Opening Day roster even before García's injury, but that injury combined with how Hernandez has looked this spring has locked his spot down.
The 25-year-old lefty has looked nearly un-hittable at times this spring. Hernandez is a flamethrower who possesses a big-time power fastball. This spring the pitch has been flirting with triple digits. He also throws a slider that has the potential to be a plus pitch.
Hernandez has appeared in five games this spring, logging 5 innings. While he's allowed two home runs which has contributed to ballooning his ERA to 7.20, he has walked just one batter while stirking out seven. Control has always been an issue for Hernandez in the minors so seeing just one walk is very encouraging.
Rule 5 Draft picks rarely pan out. This alone stacks the deck against Hernandez. That said, he appears to have the stuff and pitching makeup needed to be a Rule 5 Draft pick who pans out. He will be given every opportunity to do so this season and watching him pitch should provide excitement for Pirate fans.