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Liván Hernández

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Liván Hernández
Liván Hernández 2010.jpg
Hernández with the Nationals in 2010
Born: (1975-02-20) February 20, 1975 (age 46)
Villa Clara, Cuba
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 24, 1996, for the Florida Marlins
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 2012, for the Milwaukee Brewers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record178–177
Earned run average4.44
Career highlights and awards

Eisler Liván Hernández Carrera (Spanish pronunciation: [liˈβan eɾˈnandes]; born February 20, 1975) is a Cuban-born former professional baseball pitcher in Major League Baseball. He is the half-brother of pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernández.

Playing career

Hernández was born to a poor family in the Villa Clara Province in Cuba. After meeting recruiter Joe Cubas in Venezuela in 1994, the two planned an escape through Mexico. At the age of 20, Hernández gave up his job as an official Cuban athlete and defected to the United States in 1995. His half-brother, Orlando, would defect two years later.

Hernández has played for the Florida Marlins (1996–1999), the San Francisco Giants (1999–2002), the Montreal Expos (2003–2004), the Washington Nationals (2005–2006, 2009–2011), the Arizona Diamondbacks (2006–2007), the Minnesota Twins (2008), the Colorado Rockies (2008), the New York Mets (2009), the Atlanta Braves (2012) and the Milwaukee Brewers (2012). He bats and throws right-handed, and is known for throwing a "slow hook" curveball, sometimes below 60 miles per hour, as a strikeout pitch.

A two-time All-Star, Hernández was considered to be a great defensive pitcher, having made just fifteen errors in his career. He is described as a workhorse; he throws many pitches, pitches many innings, and makes every start he needs to provide his team's bullpen much rest. Between 1998 and 2007, he never pitched fewer than 199 innings in any given season (in 1999 he threw only 19923 innings). Hernández led the National League in innings pitched in three consecutive seasons, 2003 through 2005, and led the league in complete games for the first two of those years. In 2005, he once threw 150 pitches in nine innings, although the game went into extra innings after he left. In 2004 and 2005, he led the major leagues with 3,927 and 4,009 pitches, respectively.

Hernández's actual age has been the subject of debate. Some believe he is older than his given birthday.[1][2]

Florida Marlins

After meeting with numerous team officials in the Dominican Republic, he signed with the Florida Marlins in order to live in Miami. He made his first appearance for the team as a September call-up in 1996, and joined the team for good in June 1997.

His rookie season in 1997 coincided with the recent expansion franchise reaching the 1997 World Series. He started and won Games 1 and 5 of the series against the Cleveland Indians, and struck out a postseason-record 15 batters in Game 5 of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves. His efforts earned him the World Series MVP trophy.

Before Game 7, Hernandez was able to meet his mother, Miriam Carreras, for the first time in two years. The moment was the result of concerted efforts by the Cuban and United States governments as well as a written plea from the entire roster of players. His mother and sister now reside in Miami.

San Francisco Giants

On July 25, 1999, the Florida Marlins traded Hernández to the San Francisco Giants for minor leaguers Nate Bump and Jason Grilli.[3] He tallied a career-high 17 wins in 2000, finishing the year with a 17-11 record alongside a 3.75 ERA in 240 innings. He would regress slightly in the next two seasons, despite pitching 226+23 and 216 innings respectively, as he went 13-15 with a 5.24 ERA in 2001 and 12-16 with a 4.38 ERA in 2002 (his 16 losses that year were tied for the most in the National League).

Hernández would go on to pitch in five postseason games during his stint with the Giants, one in 2000 and four in 2002. During the 2002 postseason, Hernandez had a record of 1–2 with an ERA of 6.20.[4]

Montréal Expos / Washington Nationals

On March 23, 2003, following his loss in game seven of the 2002 World Series, Hernández, along with infielder Edwards Guzmán, was traded by the Giants to the Montréal Expos for relief pitchers Jim Brower and Matt Blank.

From 2003 to 2005, Hernández led the National League in innings pitched, and led the League in complete games 2003 and 2004. In 2003, Hernández posted a career-low 3.20 ERA in 33 starts. Alongside a 15-10 record, he threw 233+13 innings, including 8 complete games, giving up just 225 hits and 57 walks, while recording 178 strikeouts (the seventh-most in the NL) and a career-high 6.87 K/9 ratio, and turned in 22 quality starts. Hernández was particularly dominant in July, going 4-1 in 6 starts with a 1.80 ERA in 50 innings, throwing 3 complete games, striking out 43 and holding opponents to a .197 batting average. This helped earn him the NL Pitcher of the Month Award (he also won the Player of the Week Award on July 13, after throwing back-to-back complete game victories and striking out 16.) His most dominant stretch came from July 2 to September 5; Hernández recorded 13 consecutive quality starts, allowing two earned runs or less in 11 of those starts, and pitching at least seven innings in all but one of them. He recorded a 9-2 record with a 1.54 ERA in 105 innings during this stretch, averaging over 8 innings per start, while striking out 95 against just 24 walks and holding opponents to a .203 batting average.

The following season, Hernández was selected to represent the Expos at the 2004 All-Star Game in Houston, Texas. This would turn out to be the first of two selections to the Midsummer Classic for Hernández during his career, and the last All-Star selection for the Expos. Despite an 11-15 record, Hernández posted a respectable 3.60 ERA in 35 starts (20 of his starts were quality). His 255 innings pitched led all major league pitchers, while giving up just 234 hits, 86 walks, 26 home runs and holding opponents to a .248 batting average. He struck out a career-high 186 batters (good for ninth in the NL) and threw nine complete games, including two shutouts. Hernández also won the National League Silver Slugger Award for a pitcher, hitting .247 with one home run and 10 RBIs.

Between the 2004 and 2005 MLB season, the Montréal Expos franchise, with Hernández in tow, relocated to Washington, D.C. to become the Washington Nationals. Hernandez started, and won, the first major league game in Washington since 1971, defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks 5–3. In 2005, Hernández would once again lead the National League in innings pitched, as well as earn his second All-Star selection; along with reliever Chad Cordero, he was the first All-Star in the new Nationals' history.

After the 2005 season, Hernández had knee surgery, and his performance in the first half of 2006 suffered. At the All-Star break, he had a 5.64 ERA and allowed hitters a .308 average. But over his last five starts with the Nationals, he had a 3.27 ERA with four walks and 23 strikeouts.[5]

Arizona Diamondbacks

On August 7, 2006, Hernández was traded from the Nationals to the Arizona Diamondbacks for two young pitching prospects, Matt Chico and Garrett Mock.

He led the majors in home runs allowed in 2007, with 34, and had the lowest strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Major Leagues (1.14).

Minnesota Twins

On February 12, 2008, Hernández signed a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins worth $5 million, with an additional $2 million for performance bonuses.

Through July 20, 2008, Hernández led Minnesota Twins starting pitchers with 10 wins and 127+23 innings pitched.[6] He was 10–6 with 5.29 ERA and 47 strikeouts. On August 1, 2008, Hernández was designated for assignment to make room for Francisco Liriano.

Hernández with the Rockies in 2008.
Hernández with the Rockies in 2008.

Colorado Rockies

On August 6, Hernandez was claimed off waivers by the Colorado Rockies, and had a record of 3–3 with 13 strikeouts in 40+13 innings and finished the 2008 season there.

Hernandez ended 2008 having given up 12.9 hits per 9 innings, the highest rate in the majors, had a major-league-worst .342 batting-average-against, and his 3.4 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched were the lowest rate in the major leagues.[7][8] Batters also made contact with his pitches 91.3% of the time that they swung at them, easily the highest percentage among major league starters.[9]

Hernández with the Mets during 2009 spring training.
Hernández with the Mets during 2009 spring training.

New York Mets

On February 14, 2009, Hernández signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets.[10] He won the fifth spot in the rotation, and was added to the major league roster when his turn came up on April 11.[11]

In 2009, Hernández was one of only three active players, along with Derek Lowe and Brad Ausmus, to have played 12 or more seasons without going on the disabled list.[12]

Hernández securely established himself as a dependable starting pitcher early in the Mets' 2009 pitching rotation. On May 26, 2009, Hernandez threw a complete game, giving just one earned run through his nine innings courtesy of an Adam Dunn home run in a 6–1 win over his former club, the Washington Nationals. He was the 1st pitcher to throw a complete game in Citi Field. He became the only active player that have thrown a complete game with six different teams.[citation needed]

However, after struggling greatly in July and August, Hernández's job was put in jeopardy. After a 6–2 loss to the Diamondbacks, manager Jerry Manuel decided to start Hernandez against the Giants, who handed the Mets a 10–1 loss on August 17, 2009. Subsequently, on August 20, 2009 the Mets released Hernández to make room for Billy Wagner on the active roster.[13]

Second stint with the Washington Nationals

On August 26, 2009, Hernández re-signed with the Nationals, where he finished the season.[14]

On February 24, 2010, he signed a minor league deal to stay with the Nationals.[15] He was called up on April 11.[16]

Hernández went 10–12 with a 3.66 ERA in 2010 and agreed to a one-year contract extension with the Nationals after the season. He was the starting pitcher on Opening Day of the 2011 season, his fourth Opening Day appearance for the franchise.

On August 30, 2011 against the Atlanta Braves, Hernandez threw his 50,000th pitch of his MLB career, getting Jair Jurrjens to ground out and end the inning. Since 1988, only 11 pitchers have thrown more pitches.[17]

Houston Astros

On January 31, 2012, Hernández signed a minor league contract with the Houston Astros with an invitation to attend spring training. He was released by the Astros on March 30.

Atlanta Braves

Within hours of being released by the Astros, Hernández was signed to a one-year Major League deal by the Atlanta Braves as a relief pitcher.[18] On May 5, 2012, he recorded his first career save in his 485th major league appearance.[19] On June 19, 2012, he was released from the Atlanta Braves. His release came after his relief appearance on June 10 where he allowed seven hits (including two home runs) in just 1.2 innings as the Braves were defeated by the Toronto Blue Jays.[20]

Milwaukee Brewers

On June 22, 2012, Hernández signed a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Following the season, he was removed from the 40-man roster and opted to become a free agent.


After not playing in the Major Leagues for a full season, Hernández officially retired from professional play on March 13, 2014.[21][22] Hernández filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy on June 30, 2017, in United States bankruptcy court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Despite earning more than $53 million during his 15-year career, his assets are worth no more than $50,000 and owing up to $1 million to as many as 50 creditors.[23] Court documents revealed Hernández had no bank account and gambled heavily at local South Florida casinos.[24]

Hernández now runs a youth baseball organization based in Miami.[25]

Pitching style

As a young man, Hernández had a fastball in the mid-90s, a slider, and a changeup.[26] As he aged, he became a finesse pitcher who relied on locating his pitches rather than generating great pitch speed.[27] His primary pitch was a sinker sitting at 83–87 mph. He also had a four-seam fastball in the same speed range. Another main pitch, used mostly against right-handed hitters, was a cut fastball at 79–82. His off-speed offering to right-handers was a curveball ranging from 65–70 mph. Against lefties, he also added a changeup in the upper 70s.[28] His four-seam fastball was the slowest among all MLB starters in the 2011 season.[29]

Hernández was an excellent fielder throughout his career, finishing seven full seasons without making an error. He posted a career .982 fielding percentage committing only 15 errors in 827 total chances in 3,189 innings of work and 519 games pitched. As of 30 September 2019, he owns the 128th-best fielding percentage all-time among pitchers. He also was a better than average hitting pitcher, posting a .221 batting average (215-for-973) with 64 runs, 38 doubles, 10 home runs and 85 RBI.[30]

See also


  1. ^ "Very few quality starters will be available this winter – MLB – ESPN". August 23, 2007. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  2. ^ "MLB: Twins trade Santana for nothing, sign Livan Hernandez, queue Doctor Evil music". February 12, 2008. Archived from the original on June 29, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  3. ^ "Marlins Send Ex-hero Hernandez To Giants". July 25, 1999.
  4. ^ "Livan Hernandez Postseason Pitching Gamelogs". September 22, 2012.
  5. ^ Svrluga, Barry (August 8, 2006). "Hernandez Is Traded To Arizona". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  6. ^ ESPN – Minnesota Twins Pitching Statistics – MLB Baseball
  7. ^ "2008 Major League Baseball Standard Pitching". Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  8. ^ "2008 Major League Baseball Batting Against". Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  9. ^ "Major League Leaderboards » 2008 » Pitchers » Plate Discipline Statistics | FanGraphs Baseball". Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  10. ^ Noble, Marty (February 14, 2009). "Mets reach Minors deal with Livan". Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  11. ^ Noble, Marty (March 31, 2009). "Mets round out roster for Opening Day". Archived from the original on March 20, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  12. ^ Rogers, Carroll (May 1, 2009). "Atlanta News, Sports, Atlanta Weather, Business News". Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  13. ^ Livan Hernandez  #61  SP (February 20, 1975). "Livan Hernandez Stats, News, Photos – Washington Nationals – ESPN". Retrieved July 22, 2010.
  14. ^ "Washington Nationals sign Livan Hernandez" (Press release). Washington Nationals. August 26, 2009. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  15. ^ Ladson, Bill (February 24, 2010). "Livan back in DC with Minor League deal". Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  16. ^ "Nationals add Hernandez and Bernadina to roster, place Morse on D.L. and option Mock to Syracuse" (Press release). Washington Nationals. April 11, 2010. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  17. ^ Adam Kilgore, "In arm's way: Hernandez has milestone", Washington Post, August 31, 2011
  18. ^ "Atlanta Braves get Livan Hernandez after Houston Astros cut". March 30, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  19. ^ O'Brien, David (May 6, 2012). "Braves beat Rockies 13-9 on another big comeback". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  20. ^ Toronto Blue Jays (31-29) 12, Atlanta Braves (34-26) 4 June 10, 2012
  21. ^ Ladson, Bill (March 12, 2014). "Livan to make retirement official". Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  22. ^ Corcoran, Cliff (March 13, 2014). "Livan Hernandez officially retires, ending compelling 17-year career". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on March 13, 2014. Retrieved March 13, 2014.
  23. ^ Lambiet, Jose (July 10, 2017). "He was a World Series hero for the Marlins, and now he's bankrupt". Miami Herald. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  24. ^ "Lawyer: Livan Hernandez's bankruptcy story 'difficult to accept' | Miami Herald". Archived from the original on 2018-04-03.
  25. ^ "Livan Hernandez Organization - Perfect Game Baseball Association". Retrieved 22 September 2021.
  26. ^ James, Bill; Neyer, Rob (June 15, 2004). The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches. Simon and Schuster. p. 241. ISBN 9780743261586. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  27. ^ Comak, Amanda (April 23, 2011). "The amazingly durable Livan Hernandez". The Washington Times. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  28. ^ "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Livan Hernandez". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  29. ^ "PitchFX Leaderboards". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  30. ^ "Livan Hernandez Statistics and History". Retrieved August 31, 2012.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by National League Player of the Week (with Preston Wilson)
July 7–13, 2003
Succeeded by
Preceded by National League Pitcher of the Month
July 2003
Succeeded by
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Liván Hernández
John Lannan
Washington Nationals Opening Day Starting Pitcher
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 7 January 2022, at 23:41
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