Lefty Nick Hernandez pitched six strong innings last night to pick up his second win of the season for the Clearwater Threshers in a 13-1 pounding of the Brevard County Manatees, the Florida State League farm team of the Milwaukee Brewers. Hernandez is pitching in a Phillies farm team rotation for the first time since the 2010 season when he started eight games with the Lakewood BlueClaws. See Here .
Baseball Betsy and I were interested in seeing Nick’s first start at home after two quality starts on the road. We arrived early to Brighthouse last night to watch him warm up in the Threshers bullpen before his starting appearance . Standing next to the Tiki up behind catcher Logan Moore it was plain to us why Nick was back. His warm-up was impressive as he continually hit the corners of the plate with all his pitches. His command looked sharp under the watchful eye of pitching coach Bob Milacki.
Hernandez carried his bullpen into the game as he retired the side in order in the first. In the bottom of the first the Threshers opened with five runs that took nearly a half an hour to produce. Nick was a bit up in the zone to start the top of the second. After two high pitches for balls, the Manatees Cameron Garfield lofted a high fly ball to left that normally would have been an out. However this one was aided by a 20 mph wind blowing out to left. The high fly ball just made it into the seats in front of the Tiki bar. Nick then settled down and pitched shutout ball the rest of the way before being taken out after six innings giving up only that one run on four hits and striking out seven to get his second win in three starts.
Nick Hernandez is quickly emerging as one of the top starting pitching prospects in the Phillies organization. After last night’s action all the Phillies starting pitchers in the rotations in the top three teams in the farm system have made three starts. Nick is the top Thresher’s starting pitcher with a 2.12 ERA. Only Adam Morgan’s 1.42 ERA at AAA is lower. Only four starting pitchers in the system have ERAs 3.00 and under including Seth Rosin at 2.81 and Jesse Bittle at 3.00 both with Reading.
Last season at this time Trevor May was considered the top pitching prospect in the Phillies organization and was the key player along with Vance Worley that GM Ruben Amaro had to give up to get center-fielder Ben Revere from Minnesota over the winter. May, after three starts with the Twins New Britain AA farm team in the Eastern League, sports an earn run average of 3.14. The Twins front office has said that May will likely get a September call up to the Twins this season. The Phillies have four starters in the minors right now with lower ERA averages than does the much heralded May.
After the first three starts of the season by the pitchers in the Phillies minor league farm system, Nick Hernandez has emerged as one of their top four pitching prospects. An amazing story after not having pitched since midway through the 2010 season.