Islanders Baseball Pitcher Becomes Highest MLB Draft Pick in University History

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In 2018, Aaron Hernandez, a sophomore at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and pitcher for the Islanders Baseball team, appeared and started in 14 games. He also struck out 102 batters in 83.0 innings, becoming only the seventh Islander to reach 100 strikeouts in a single season. On June 4, his winning performance on the field and his love of baseball caught the attention of the Los Angeles Angels and he was selected to play Major League Baseball (MLB) in the 3rd round of the 2018 draft.

“I have been dreaming of this day since I was 8-years-old. Growing up I was a big Angels fan, so for them to make my dream come true is something that I can’t even put into words,” said Hernandez, who also made a comeback in the classroom when he went from being academically ineligible to play for Islanders Baseball to becoming one of the top-ranked collegiate baseball players in the nation.

During a draft watch party, hosted by Islander Athletics in the University Center, Tejas Lounge, Hernandez was surrounded by his friends, family and Islander Athletics staff, all of whom came out to the University to show their support for the Corpus Christi native and Moody High School graduate. His parents said there was never a doubt in their minds their son would play professional baseball.  

“Growing up, Aaron would wake me up on Saturday mornings with his glove and hat on and say, ‘let’s go hit, let’s go throw.’ From there, I just knew it – he had a strong love of the game from a young age,” said Albert Hernandez, Aaron’s father. “There are no words to describe how I feel and I can’t use one word to explain how a dad feels knowing his son is on the brink of becoming a major league ballplayer.”

Hernandez becomes the 12th player in Islander history to be drafted by the MLB and he becomes the highest draft pick in program history.

Other Islanders Baseball players who were drafted include:

2016 - Chris Falwell  – San Francisco Giants, 16th

2016 - Casey Thomas  – Oakland A's, 34th round

2015 - Trevor Belicek – Atlanta Braves, 16th round

2013 - Trevor Foss – Los Angeles Angels, 22nd round

2013 - Eric Weiss – Los Angeles Angels, 35th round

2012 - Daniel Minor – Houston Astros, 9th round

2011 - Matthew Holland – Philadelphia Phillies, 22nd round

2011 - Todd Simko – Washington Nationals, 21st round

2008 - Omar Gutierrez – San Diego Padres, 29th round

2005 - Trey Hearne – St. Louis Cardinals, 28th round

2005 - Chuck Carter – St. Louis Cardinals, 27th round

“I could not be happier for Aaron and the Hernandez family,” said Scott Malone head coach of Islander Baseball. “His hard work on and off the field gets rewarded today. All of us have a dream to put on a big league uniform one day and only a handful ever get the opportunity. Today is an outstanding day for the entire Islander family and a huge day for our program and everything our student-athletes work for all year.”

Hernandez says that being an Islander had a big part to play in getting him to this moment and had some special words for his teammates and coaches.

“I can’t thank those guys enough. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am now. They have shown me so much support,” said Hernandez. “I especially thank my coaching staff for not giving up on me. I just can’t thank those guys enough.”