Hernandez was named to the Rays' 40-man postseason player pool Monday, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports. Hernandez is considered the Rays' top catching prospect and has gotten valuable experience at both the team's alternate training site in Port Charlotte and various taxi squad stints this season. The inclusion on the 40-man playoff pool still leaves Hernandez with almost no chance of seeing any game action outside of a rash of injuries ahead of him, but it's another opportunity for the backstop of the future to spend time around the big-league club.
Hernandez has been added to the Rays' taxi squad that will go on the team's 10-game road trip that begins Monday in Boston, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports. The young backstop will serve as an emergency option behind Mike Zunino and Michael Perez during that stretch, with veteran catcher Kevan Smith having been designated for assignment Sunday. Hernandez has yet to play above High-A ball, but he looked good during summer camp with some impressive home runs in intrasquad games. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports manager Kevin Cash is aware Hernandez would be making a big leap if called upon, but he believes the 22-year-old is prepared for the challenge. "We've got a lot of positive vibes on Ronaldo," Cash said. "Not sure if this is the most ideal situation for him right now to be put in that position, but either way you're always concerned about your depth, especially at that position."
Although Hernandez did not make it onto the Opening Day roster, he impressed during the latter stages of summer camp and could be an option at the big-league level later in the season, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports. The 22-year-old backstop has never played above the High-A level, but he's demonstrated some impressive pop over his first three minor-league stops with 101 extra-base hits (61 doubles, five triples, 35 home runs) across 266 games. He also showed plenty against big-league arms as camp wound down, with Toribio reporting Hernandez slugged a double and single off Ryan Yarbrough in Monday's intrasquad scrimmage and then followed it up with a towering homer off Trevor Richards and RBI double against Shane McClanahan the following day. The Rays are currently set behind the dish with Mike Zunino, Michael Perez and Kevan Smith, but if Hernandez continues to show well at the team's alternate training site in Port Charlotte, it appears he may have an outside chance at making the leap all the way up to the major-league squad.
Hernandez is expected to be part of the Rays' 60-man player pool that will report to the team's summer camp, Juan Toribio of MLB.com reports. Hernandez hit just .188 (3-for-16) in Grapefruit League play before spring training was suspended, but he'll apparently have a chance to continue gaining experience against some big-league talent throughout the 2020 season as part of a taxi squad. The promising backstop, who's already on the 40-man roster, will likely report to Port Charlotte, one of the Rays' two summer camp sites. Although Hernandez has yet to play above the High-A level, he's considered the likely future at catcher in the organization.
The Rays optioned Hernandez to Triple-A Durham on Monday. Considering Hernandez hasn't played above the High-A level, he was never a likely candidate to break camp with the big club. He'll likely see ample work in intrasquad games over the next week before minor-league exhibitions begin March 18.