‘Big opportunity’: UH infielder Ryan Hernandez finding success playing in Round Rock
Before his junior season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, first baseman Ryan Hernandez gave Houston a small taste of his talent, leading the team in nearly all offensive categories, hitting .300 with five home runs and 14 RBI’s in 60 at-bats, but Hernandez is constantly striving to get better. Not even the COVID-19 pandemic is stopping him from improving his game.
The 6-foot-4-inch infielder was unsure of when he would play another baseball game, until his fellow UH teammate, Luke Almendarez, reached out and told him about an opportunity to play in Round Rock at Dell Diamond for the Hairy Men in the Texas Collegiate League this summer.
“I was like yup, sign me up,” said Hernandez, who had accepted the opportunity to play before the games were even confirmed.
After going through the necessary safety precautions to be cleared to play, Hernandez headed down to Round Rock with one focus, taking advantage of pitcher mistakes.
“I’m here to work on stuff in Round Rock, and what I’m working on is not missing pitches,” Hernandez said. “You’re not supposed to hit a pitcher’s pitch, you’re supposed to hit their mistakes,”
Not only is Hernandez focused on turning those mistakes into base hits and rockets out the park, but he is also working on his mindset at the plate.
“If they throw me a pitch that they weren’t supposed to throw, (like) a middle-in fastball in any count, then I’m taking advantage of it because the difference between a college player and a pro is that pros don’t miss their pitches, and we all try to emulate that,” Hernandez said.
So far, Hernandez has been successful in turning pitcher mistakes into hits. In his 45 at-bats so far as a member of the Hairy Men, Hernandez is hitting an impressive .400 with 18 RBI’s and a TCL-high five homers, but this is new news for the Brookline, Massachusetts-native.
“I haven’t even seen my stats so far this summer because I’m not here for that,” he said. “I’m here for development and working on something, and that’s not missing pitches that are pitcher mistakes.”