The Atlanta Braves, in the middle of quite a rebuilding process, with more to come if rumors are to be believed, have hired Chuck Hernandez as their new minor league pitching coordinator. The former pitching coach will work in a new position with younger players for his new employer. Hernandez was most recently the pitching coach for the Miami Marlins, serving in that role from 2013 until last season. Before that, he was the Cleveland Indians bullpen coach for one season in 2009. He worked as the pitching coach for the Detroit Tigers from 2006 to 2008, for the Tampa Bay Rays for 2004 and 2005, and for the California Angels from 1993-1996.
Hernandez never made it to the big leagues, but he did play in the New York Yankees minor league system from 1979 to 1983. He also pitched one season in the Chicago White Sox minor league system. Hernandez never advanced past Double-A, and compiled a career 27-33 record with a 4.27 ERA.
As a coach, Hernandez has always been well respected and thought of as someone who works well with young pitchers. He worked with the young pitchers on the Marlins staff the past few seasons with mixed results. Jose Fernandez, despite missing time recovering from Tommy John surgery, is one of the top young pitchers in baseball. Reliever Carter Capps also flourished, again despite injury, under Hernandez’s tutelage. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jarred Cosart came to the Marlins with high expectations but has mostly fallen flat on his face. Similarly, the Marlins added veteran, once-effective arms like Carlos Marmol, Henry Rodriguez, and Kevin Gregg to Hernandez’s staff and he was unable to get anything out of them.
Chuck Hernandez’s impact on the Braves’ minor league system remains to be seen, of course. However, at least for now, this is being called an excellent hire by people across baseball.