The 100 mph fastball. The knee-buckling 88 mph curve ball. The 2.2 innings of perfect pitching and the 5 strikeouts. It'll take awhile for us to forget the electric big league debut of Ariel Hernandez from Monday night, the one where he dazzled and carved through the Milwaukee Brewers with elegant ease.
And we'll have to rely purely on memory for a time going forward, since the Cincinnati Reds optioned him back to AA Pensacola today before we could even finish digesting such an awesome debut.
#Reds option RHP Ariel Hernandez to AA Pensacola, recall RHP Barrett Astin— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) April 25, 2017
It's understandable once you look past the glossy sheen. For one, he threw 30 pitches in those 2.2 innings and won't be able to pitch again for a few days, which matters considering how few innings the Cincinnati starters have been able to log of late. Also, when you consider he'd thrown a grand total of 8 professional innings above A-ball prior to last night's outing, it's a bit easier to process why the Reds might want him to get a little more seasoning in the minors before calling him up for good.
Taking his spot in the bullpen will be Barrett Astin, who undoubtedly is getting sick of memorizing all of the nothingness that is I-71 through Northern Kentucky. Astin last threw an inning on April 22nd - his only inning pitched since April 16th - meaning he'll be able to eat innings voraciously in the coming days should the need again arise.
As for Hernandez, well, he'll be back again eventually, I'm rather certain. It took all of one appearance for the rest of the baseball world to take note of his talent, with FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan going out on a limb to wonder if the 25 year old former journeyman might already be an elite reliever. If his newfound command is really as real as it was last night, there's not a lot out there that will stop his quick rise back to the big leagues as soon as the Reds can find a permanent place for him.