Red Sox relief prospect Ryan Fernandez needed just 24 pitches — 19 of which were strikes — to toss two scoreless innings and wrap up a 9-4 win for the Portland Sea Dogs over the Hartford Yard Goats at Dunkin’ Donuts Park on Wednesday night.
Since earning a promotion from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland on July 3, Fernandez has made eight relief appearances for the Sea Dogs. The right-hander has posted a 3.60 ERA and 3.43 FIP with 16 strikeouts to just two walks over 10 innings of work in those outings.
Prior to making the jump to Double-A, Fernandez began the 2022 season in Greenville and pitched to a 4.00 ERA (but more respectable 3.19 FIP) with 40 punchouts to nine walks across 25 appearances spanning 27 innings of relief for the Drive.
So, between the two levels to this point in the season, the 24-year-old has produced a 3.89 ERA and 3.25 FIP while recording 56 strikeouts and issuing 11 walks over 33 relief appearances (37 total innings). He has also converted 10 of a possible 13 save opportunities.
To put that all into perspective: Among the 57 pitchers in the Red Sox farm system who have thrown at least 30 innings coming into play on Thursday, Fernandez ranks second in strikeouts per nine innings (13.62), 12th in walks per nine innings (2.68), first in strikeout rate (35.9%), third in swinging strike rate (20.8%), 12th in walk rate (7.1%), 10th in groundball rate (52.3%), 13th in FIP, and third in xFIP (2.74), per FanGraphs.
The Red Sox originally selected Fernandez in the 23rd round of the 2018 amateur draft out of Hillsborough Community College in Plant City, Fla. The Tampa native signed with the club for $125,000 and made his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League.
Despite the amount of success he has enjoyed so far this season, Fernandez has not yet caught the attention of any industry publications to the point where is ranked as one of the top 30 or so prospects in Boston’s farm system.
Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, the 6-foot, 170-pound hurler throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a 96-98 mph fastball that tops out at 99 mph, a 90-92 mph cutter with a high spin rate, and an 87-89 mph slider.
Fernandez, who does not turn 25 until next June, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter if he is left off the Red Sox’ 40-man roster in November. With that being said, it would not be too surprising if Boston has Fernandez pitch in the Arizona Fall League later this year so that it may further evaluate him.
Having Fernandez pitch in Arizona this fall would also give other clubs the opportunity to see the Florida-born righty in-person.
(Picture of Ryan Fernandez: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)