Caleb Smith’s first seven starts of the year had the Marlins and thier fans thinking they’d found an ace. A 2.11 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 42.2 innings. And while that is still up for debate, a 5.79 ERA in the lefty’s five subsequent starts won’t encourage many. Interestingly enough, the Marlins placed Smith on the injured list (IL) on June 7 with left hip inflammation that had apparently been bothering him for his “last couple starts.”
Caleb Smith on hip inflammation: "It's been bothering me the last couple starts. Just haven't really felt the same."— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) June 7, 2019
They recalled Tyler Kinley from Triple-A New Orleans as the corresponding move to add some depth to the bullpen until they called up the starter taking Smith’s spot during his IL stint.
Luckily for the Marlins, they had a choice between red-hot Triple-A right-handed pitchers: Zac Gallen or Elieser Hernandez. They have a 1.57 ERA and a 1.13 ERA, respectively, in the launching pad that the Pacific Coast League has become.
While fans have been clamoring for Gallen to make his MLB debut, Don Mattingly announced on Monday afternoon that Hernandez will get the starting nod. The Marlins don’t have to make a spot for Hernandez on the 40-man roster like they would have with Gallen, which may have played into the decision. Also, there isn’t a concern for Smith to miss much time on the IL.
The 24-year-old Hernandez already has some major league experience after pitching in 32 games with the Marlins in 2018—six of them being starts—as a Rule 5 selection from the Astros organization. He had a 5.21 ERA in his first major league stint, but after spending the necessary 90 days on the active roster, the Marlins were able to keep him in and option him to Triple-A New Orleans to start the 2019 season. That proved fruitful for Hernandez and the Marlins as he is now positioned as one of the top options to make starts for the big league team this season.
Hernandez figures to be well-rested—his most recent Triple-A outing was June 2. The corresponding move has not been announced by the team yet.
Thank you for reading, until next time.