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danwl
12-23-2007, 10:02 PM
Out here in New Mexico, I rarely have the opportunity to offer any particular insight on Reds prospects. With Herrera coming over in the Hamilton trade, however, I thought I would offer a few thoughts. I saw Herrera pitch three times while he was here at UNM.

First, you can't really get how tiny he is until you see him pitch. It was pretty pronounced at the college level, where there are some big dudes, but in pro ball, this guy will look like a little leaguer. Seriously. They list him at 5'7", but that has to be with cleats on.

Second, this is one tough kid. I don't know that he gave in to a batter his whole career here. He never grooves anything and always keeps it close, makes the hitter hit good pitches.

Third, he's never had an overpowering fastball, so he doesn't rely on it. He spots that thing on both sides of the plate, and cuts it both ways. He is all over the zone, north/south and east/west. I read somewhere over the last couple of days suggesting he was throwing fastball at 86. I would doubt that; I'd guess more like 83-84. If he could throw 86, 87, 88, I think it would be a huge steal. But I don't think he can. Still, Maddux makes 84 work.

Fourth, he (predictably for a crafty lefthander) has a whole basketful of off-speed stuff. His best pitch is probably curveball, which never really looked deceptive to me, but man it breaks a ton, like something out of a video game. He's also got a couple different change-ups he will throw on any count. Really, he'll throw anything on any count, and he spots pretty much everything.

Fifth, understand that Albuquerque is a mile in elevation, just like Coors Field. UNM's baseball scores usually look like football scores. His college record needs to be read with this subtext. At UNM, the kid was a ground-ball machine. I haven't looked at his pro stats, but he kept the ball in the park here and recorded lots of ground ball outs.

Sixth, he threw a kajillion innings here; he is going to be pretty durable.

Overall, he won't ever be dominant at this level. But, it is a definite possibility that he will provide some real contribution to the Reds in the next few years, as a middle innings guy, possibly a situational reliever. He's likely to have outings where he doesn't do anything spectacular, but you look back over innings 4, 5, 6 and think, hey, this kid is throwing some pretty good innings. I do not think he'll ever really be hemmoraging runs, but will keep it close and make runs valuable. So, I'm not saying he's a hugely important element of this deal or anything, but understand, including him is not nothing; he will have some value.

shredda2000
12-23-2007, 10:43 PM
Very insightful...thanks for the post!

*BaseClogger*
12-24-2007, 11:17 AM
The thing that impressed me most about him is the amount of strikeouts he got at AA last year-I know he can pitch to contact, but if he can strikeout anywhere close to that many guys in the majors then watch out!

TC81190
12-24-2007, 11:37 AM
Thanks for the insight.

ChatterRed
12-24-2007, 01:21 PM
Good insight.

I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

Many times, scouts and fans fall in love with the 100 mph fastball, but the guy has no control or second, third, or fourth pitches. Then you come across a guy who lacks a fastball, but has great control, a multitude of pitches, and somehow manages to get people out.

Hopefully Herrera is that kind of guy.

I have to admit, I can't wait to see him on the mound just for a good chuckle at his height. You just don't see guys much under 6'0" anymore. Maybe 5'11" or 5'10" but not 5'6".

I'm 5'7", so more power to him.

Bigredfan#1
12-24-2007, 01:58 PM
Good post, thanks!

GoReds33
12-24-2007, 03:50 PM
I like your analysis. He seems like a guy that has some potential. Hopefully the Reds can groom some good flamethrowers to go with Cordero in the pen. If they do, this guy could be a great change of pace pitcher. Sometimes it pays to throw softer. I really hope this guy can be a sleeper.

KoryMac5
12-24-2007, 04:06 PM
Here is another good article on Danny:

The Ballad of Danny Ray Herrera
By Kent Bonham
And so it begins.

On Monday, Baseball America published its 2006 Minor League Position Rankings, ushering in Prospect Lists Season around the web. Like the first bus loading senior citizens for a foliage tour through the Champlain Valley, or a group of coeds dressing up like naughty nurses for a fraternity Halloween party, it's a certain sign that fall is now officially upon us. And while most of the ensuing focus and discussion will rightly fall on the prospects who make such lists, I'd like to turn your attention to one player who almost surely will not.

Daniel Ray Herrera was drafted out of the University of New Mexico by the Texas Rangers in the 45th round (Pick #1345) of this year's draft. He grew up in Odessa, TX and attended Permian High, the school made famous by "Friday Night Lights." (Unfortunately for Herrera, he didn't attend at the same time as Minka Kelly). Wait a second. Where was I now? Ah, yes. . .

Herrera stands a wee 5'7", so he won't be selling any jeans. And a fastball that tops out at 86 MPH won't cause radar guns to make sweet love to him. But something happened to Herrera's game during his final college season, when all he did was get guys out:

YEAR CL IP ERA BB SO BAA
2004 FR 72.67 5.33 24 51 .308
2005 SO 93.00 6.20 33 67 .310
2006 JR 128.33 2.24 29 104 .238
As impressive as that junior year appears to the naked eye, it's worth analyzing in even greater detail.

Consider the following:

Herrera pitched in the college equivalent of (a pre-2006) Coors Field, with a three-year Park Factor of 159 (which means his home field has yielded an average of 59% more runs than a neutral park over the past three seasons). Last season, he pitched in stadiums with a Total Park Factor of 139.6. Yet, his ERA over 128 IP was 2.24, the third-lowest of all draft-eligible college pitchers last year with more than 100 innings pitched.

Moving to the world of Defense-Independent Pitching Stats, Herrera's DIPS ERA creeps up to 3.28, a general function of the relatively large number of hits he allowed in the thin mountain air. But still. Adjusting his DIPS ERA for the full effects of the level of competition against whom he pitched and the parks in which he threw, dropped his fully-adjusted ERA back down to 2.20.

But that's not all.

Prior to June's draft, scouts most often cited five players as the most pronounced college groundball pitchers. With this in mind, I went back before the draft and hand-calculated the Ground Outs/Air Outs (not all batted ball data is publicly-available at the college level) for each, to see how Herrera compared:

GO/AO
Danny Ray Herrera (LHP, New Mexico) 2.86
Derrick Lutz (RHP, George Washington) 2.23
Jason Godin (RHP, Old Dominion) 1.95
Brett Sinkbeil (RHP, Missouri State) 1.86
Jared Hughes (RHP, Long Beach State) 1.60
Dallas Buck (RHP, Oregon State) N/A
Fine, you're probably saying. Big deal. The kid had one good year in college. He induced a lot of ground balls, threw strikes, and got a reasonable number of whiffs while pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark. But he's short and doesn't throw especially hard, remember? Surely, the minor leagues would have exposed him for what he really is, right?

Let's take a look.

After breezing through the AZL for nine innings, Herrera got the call up to the Class A-Advanced Bakersfield Blaze of the California League and headed to the bullpen. Over the course of 54.3 IP, here's how he fared:

Herrera Lg. Avg.
OPS Against .518 .764
BABIP .293 .333
WHIP 0.94 1.47
BB/9 1.99 3.58
K/9 10.10 7.62
HR/9 0.00 0.81
GB% 70.7% 45.7%
In other words, Herrera once again disproved the doubters.

Now, none of this is to say that Herrera is certain to maintain these levels of performance as he continues his march towards the major leagues. As with the majority of prospects at his age and level of development, the odds are most certainly against him.

But here's to hoping that next season we might all begin to recognize him for the things he has already accomplished, rather than continually dismissing him for the things he might someday not.

THANKS: Boyd Nation's site is an incredible resource for all things college baseball. His passion for the Land of Aluminum Bats is obvious. Jeff Sackmann revolutionized the way the general public, even hacks like me, could analyze the minor leagues. If Bill James and Jessica Alba ever bore a child, and their child came out as a minor league baseball website, it would probably look something like minorleaguesplits.com.

Kent Bonham is a consultant in Washington, DC. He can be reached here.

KoryMac5
12-24-2007, 04:07 PM
Here is another good article on Danny:


The Ballad of Danny Ray Herrera
By Kent Bonham
And so it begins.

On Monday, Baseball America published its 2006 Minor League Position Rankings, ushering in Prospect Lists Season around the web. Like the first bus loading senior citizens for a foliage tour through the Champlain Valley, or a group of coeds dressing up like naughty nurses for a fraternity Halloween party, it's a certain sign that fall is now officially upon us. And while most of the ensuing focus and discussion will rightly fall on the prospects who make such lists, I'd like to turn your attention to one player who almost surely will not.

Daniel Ray Herrera was drafted out of the University of New Mexico by the Texas Rangers in the 45th round (Pick #1345) of this year's draft. He grew up in Odessa, TX and attended Permian High, the school made famous by "Friday Night Lights." (Unfortunately for Herrera, he didn't attend at the same time as Minka Kelly). Wait a second. Where was I now? Ah, yes. . .

Herrera stands a wee 5'7", so he won't be selling any jeans. And a fastball that tops out at 86 MPH won't cause radar guns to make sweet love to him. But something happened to Herrera's game during his final college season, when all he did was get guys out:

YEAR CL IP ERA BB SO BAA
2004 FR 72.67 5.33 24 51 .308
2005 SO 93.00 6.20 33 67 .310
2006 JR 128.33 2.24 29 104 .238
As impressive as that junior year appears to the naked eye, it's worth analyzing in even greater detail.

Consider the following:

Herrera pitched in the college equivalent of (a pre-2006) Coors Field, with a three-year Park Factor of 159 (which means his home field has yielded an average of 59% more runs than a neutral park over the past three seasons). Last season, he pitched in stadiums with a Total Park Factor of 139.6. Yet, his ERA over 128 IP was 2.24, the third-lowest of all draft-eligible college pitchers last year with more than 100 innings pitched.

Moving to the world of Defense-Independent Pitching Stats, Herrera's DIPS ERA creeps up to 3.28, a general function of the relatively large number of hits he allowed in the thin mountain air. But still. Adjusting his DIPS ERA for the full effects of the level of competition against whom he pitched and the parks in which he threw, dropped his fully-adjusted ERA back down to 2.20.

But that's not all.

Prior to June's draft, scouts most often cited five players as the most pronounced college groundball pitchers. With this in mind, I went back before the draft and hand-calculated the Ground Outs/Air Outs (not all batted ball data is publicly-available at the college level) for each, to see how Herrera compared:

GO/AO
Danny Ray Herrera (LHP, New Mexico) 2.86
Derrick Lutz (RHP, George Washington) 2.23
Jason Godin (RHP, Old Dominion) 1.95
Brett Sinkbeil (RHP, Missouri State) 1.86
Jared Hughes (RHP, Long Beach State) 1.60
Dallas Buck (RHP, Oregon State) N/A
Fine, you're probably saying. Big deal. The kid had one good year in college. He induced a lot of ground balls, threw strikes, and got a reasonable number of whiffs while pitching in a hitter-friendly ballpark. But he's short and doesn't throw especially hard, remember? Surely, the minor leagues would have exposed him for what he really is, right?

Let's take a look.

After breezing through the AZL for nine innings, Herrera got the call up to the Class A-Advanced Bakersfield Blaze of the California League and headed to the bullpen. Over the course of 54.3 IP, here's how he fared:

Herrera Lg. Avg.
OPS Against .518 .764
BABIP .293 .333
WHIP 0.94 1.47
BB/9 1.99 3.58
K/9 10.10 7.62
HR/9 0.00 0.81
GB% 70.7% 45.7%
In other words, Herrera once again disproved the doubters.

Now, none of this is to say that Herrera is certain to maintain these levels of performance as he continues his march towards the major leagues. As with the majority of prospects at his age and level of development, the odds are most certainly against him.

But here's to hoping that next season we might all begin to recognize him for the things he has already accomplished, rather than continually dismissing him for the things he might someday not.

THANKS: Boyd Nation's site is an incredible resource for all things college baseball. His passion for the Land of Aluminum Bats is obvious. Jeff Sackmann revolutionized the way the general public, even hacks like me, could analyze the minor leagues. If Bill James and Jessica Alba ever bore a child, and their child came out as a minor league baseball website, it would probably look something like minorleaguesplits.com.

Kent Bonham is a consultant in Washington, DC. He can be reached here.

camisadelgolf
12-24-2007, 08:21 PM
At the moment, I'm thinking Danny Ray Herrera compares to a pre-Reds Rheal Cormier.

Hey Meat
12-25-2007, 12:13 AM
Out here in New Mexico, I rarely have the opportunity to offer any particular insight on Reds prospects. With Herrera coming over in the Hamilton trade, however, I thought I would offer a few thoughts. I saw Herrera pitch three times while he was here at UNM.

First, you can't really get how tiny he is until you see him pitch. It was pretty pronounced at the college level, where there are some big dudes, but in pro ball, this guy will look like a little leaguer. Seriously. They list him at 5'7", but that has to be with cleats on.

Second, this is one tough kid. I don't know that he gave in to a batter his whole career here. He never grooves anything and always keeps it close, makes the hitter hit good pitches.

Third, he's never had an overpowering fastball, so he doesn't rely on it. He spots that thing on both sides of the plate, and cuts it both ways. He is all over the zone, north/south and east/west. I read somewhere over the last couple of days suggesting he was throwing fastball at 86. I would doubt that; I'd guess more like 83-84. If he could throw 86, 87, 88, I think it would be a huge steal. But I don't think he can. Still, Maddux makes 84 work.

Fourth, he (predictably for a crafty lefthander) has a whole basketful of off-speed stuff. His best pitch is probably curveball, which never really looked deceptive to me, but man it breaks a ton, like something out of a video game. He's also got a couple different change-ups he will throw on any count. Really, he'll throw anything on any count, and he spots pretty much everything.

Fifth, understand that Albuquerque is a mile in elevation, just like Coors Field. UNM's baseball scores usually look like football scores. His college record needs to be read with this subtext. At UNM, the kid was a ground-ball machine. I haven't looked at his pro stats, but he kept the ball in the park here and recorded lots of ground ball outs.

Sixth, he threw a kajillion innings here; he is going to be pretty durable.

Overall, he won't ever be dominant at this level. But, it is a definite possibility that he will provide some real contribution to the Reds in the next few years, as a middle innings guy, possibly a situational reliever. He's likely to have outings where he doesn't do anything spectacular, but you look back over innings 4, 5, 6 and think, hey, this kid is throwing some pretty good innings. I do not think he'll ever really be hemmoraging runs, but will keep it close and make runs valuable. So, I'm not saying he's a hugely important element of this deal or anything, but understand, including him is not nothing; he will have some value.

Hey thanks, I am a Lobo grad, hadn't seen Herrera since he played at Permian. In fact I saw him play our guys at Midland High. In fact one of them was up there at the same time as Herrera. What ever happened to him. His name was Daniel Stovall?

remdog
12-25-2007, 09:51 AM
What weight does Herrera play at?

Height wise Bobby Shantz immediately popped to mind. Shantz, 5'6", 142, was also a lefty with great control but he threw sidearm and had a knuckler. AL MVP as a starter in '52 (won 24 games for a 5th place team) but after several years of injuries was primarily a relief pitcher till he retired after the '64 season.

Anyway, I'm trying to get a mental picture of Herrera. I know he's short. Stocky? Slim?

Rem

mth123
12-25-2007, 10:03 AM
He's listed at 5-8, 145.

For reference Fred Norman was 5-8, 160.


If Herrera is as good as either Shantz or Norman we'll all be happy I'd say.

traderumor
12-25-2007, 10:21 AM
There is nothing like a junkballing lefty to come in after a few fireballers have been pumping seeds up to the plate. But he will likely only succeed as a counterattack in a power bullpen.

BucksandReds
12-25-2007, 10:40 AM
There is nothing like a junkballing lefty to come in after a few fireballers have been pumping seeds up to the plate. But he will likely only succeed as a counterattack in a power bullpen.

And that has value when it is a minor part of a trade like it was. I am happy to have this guy. I like the idea of a guy that can locate, has a ton of movement and throws soft enough to pitch day after day if need be.

mth123
12-25-2007, 02:14 PM
There is nothing like a junkballing lefty to come in after a few fireballers have been pumping seeds up to the plate. But he will likely only succeed as a counterattack in a power bullpen.

I agree and with Cordero, Burton, Pelland, McBeth, Viola, Coffey, Salmon and Roenicke on top of whichever starter of the Cueto, Volquez and Bailey trio ends up as a reliever the Reds could have a power pen that Herrera could fit right into.

Lockdwn11
12-25-2007, 02:17 PM
OK look at Danny Herrera Minor league #, forget he is 5'7 and 150lb and throws a 86 MPH .Now imagine he is 6'4 220 and throws 94 to 96 with those same #.How would you feel about him then?

dougdirt
12-25-2007, 02:19 PM
OK look at Danny Herrera Minor league #, forget he is 5'7 and 150lb and throws a 86 MPH .Now imagine he is 6'4 220 and throws 94 to 96 with those same #.How would you feel about him then?

Quite a bit different.

Lockdwn11
12-25-2007, 02:21 PM
Quite a bit different.

As would most including myself but why? If he gets guys out he gets guy out right?

Kc61
12-25-2007, 02:26 PM
Quite a bit different.

I have a good feeling about Herrera. He's obviously not a top prospect in terms of the normal indicators. But he seems to deceive the hitters and get a lot of ground balls.

Sometimes a guy just has a knack for getting hitters out. I assume he will be at AAA this year and it will be interesting to see if he continues to be effective.

Krivsky and Co. obviously like him, I don't think they wanted a pure throw in, but wanted somebody who has a chance to help the Reds, even in a limited role.

IslandRed
12-25-2007, 08:28 PM
As would most including myself but why? If he gets guys out he gets guy out right?

I put a lot of stock in minor-league numbers myself -- at some point, potential has to start yielding actual results. At the same time, there are lots of different ways to get results in the minors and not all of them equally translate to big-league success.

The lower minors are full of hitters who lack patience and can't hit good breaking stuff to save their lives. A pitcher who has good command of his breaking stuff can mow those guys down. But at each bump in level, critically flawed hitters are weeded out, leaving more guys who can hit the breaking stuff, especially if they're looking for it. If the pitcher can't set up the breaking pitches with a decent fastball, he will probably hit a wall at some point, the Jamie Moyers of the world excepted.

Similarly, hitters can feast on minor-league pitching just by having the patience to wait out the guys who are having trouble throwing strikes, and the ability to kill a mistake fastball. But they can't really hit *good* pitching, and as they move up the ladder they're exposed as pretenders.

For a guy like Herrera, one test I'd like to see -- and I have no idea how one would obtain this information -- is, what results is he getting against hitters who project to be major-leaguers someday, as opposed to organizational filler? If he's getting the good hitters out, too, that's an encouraging sign. Especially if he does it at Triple-A, since that level has a lot of fringe big-leaguers who have been around the block a few times.

GoReds
12-26-2007, 07:50 AM
His hands are probably too small for a knuckler, but that would have been a great pitch for him to add.

flash
12-26-2007, 10:16 AM
In Arizona this past winter he posted a 2.53 ERA with batters hitting .212 against him. Most of the guys sent to Arizona are considered to be major league bound.

klw
12-26-2007, 11:16 AM
Well the Reds can slot him in to the Carlos Guevara lifetime Chattanooga slot in the pen.

Mario-Rijo
12-26-2007, 07:05 PM
Well the Reds can slot him in to the Carlos Guevara lifetime Chattanooga slot in the pen.


I'm sorry but wasn't Guevera keeping the Calvin Medlock seat warm for Herrera? ;)

gedred69
12-26-2007, 11:29 PM
This is sounding like a favorite Childhood book about the "Littile Engine That Could". We all need a little fantasy, eh?

Cooper
01-02-2008, 10:25 AM
His biggest barrier will be the Reds FO.

princeton
01-02-2008, 11:21 AM
His biggest barrier will be the Reds FO.

conspiracy theorist, eh?

it'd certainly be nice if he threw harder, but being lefthanded is a great quality in this organization, and historically has been a great thing for a screwballer. I suspect that he has a much better chance than Carlos Guevara.

Vada Pinson Fan
01-06-2008, 09:02 PM
If he can get people out, well then, I don't care if he's 5'8" or 6'8". Thanks for the info guys, especially danwl. It's appreciated!

redsmetz
01-06-2008, 10:01 PM
conspiracy theorist, eh?

it'd certainly be nice if he threw harder, but being lefthanded is a great quality in this organization, and historically has been a great thing for a screwballer. I suspect that he has a much better chance than Carlos Guevara.

I can't remember if I said this here or some time ago on another thread. I knew a guy who played college ball at Xavier, a contemporary of Charlie Liebrandt when he was at Miami(?). Liebrandt, a lefthander, was drafted out of college, Jim signed as a free agent with the Cardinals. He went to Spring Training but ultimately left before the season started. He recognized that he, a righthander pitching the same speed Liebrandt was (high 80's, if I remember correctly). He knew, though, that he'd never ulimately make the majors with that stuff. Liebrandt, of course, went on to a 14 year career in the big leauges. Being lefthanded is a gift from God (said the leftie here).

Superdude
01-06-2008, 10:34 PM
His biggest barrier will be the Reds FO.

They traded for him so I'm assuming he'll get a chance if he pitches well.