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AmarilloRed
12-06-2008, 01:35 AM
Red Reporter recently did a interview with Danny Ray Herrera, and I figured I would post it here for those of you who hadn't read it before.


Red Reporter Reports: Q&A with Danny Ray Herrera

Burger-king_tiny by BK on Dec 2, 2008 8:00 AM EST in Features

With the offseason lull upon us and Walt not making much noise in the hot stove league, we here at RR have been reaching out to look for fresh ideas. I'm pretty sure we haven't had a player interview here, at least since I've been around, so I figured the offseason would be a good time to do one. I recently reached out to lefty reliever Danny Ray Herrera, and asked him about the offseason, the organization, and his pitch repertoire. For those of you not familiar with him, he pitched 7 1/3 innings out of the Reds bullpen last year, and allowed no runs in 5 of his 7 appearances after starting the season in Chattanooga. You may also remember his major league debut, where he struck out Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell with the bases loaded to hold the Philles scoreless in an inning started by Aaron Harang. He pitched 55 innings for Louisville last season, going 4-4 with a 2.78 ERA. He also had an impressive 50/10 K/BB ratio in AAA last year, and saved 6 games for the Bats. My Q&A with the giant killer himself is after the jump...

Star-divide

RR: What are you doing in the offseason (baseball related or otherwise)?

DRH: This offseason I decided to give my arm a rest and not play any winter ball. I've been in the gym for a month already and I'm working on getting my arm stronger in preparation for next year. So far I've spent my time in Austin, golfing and doing some traveling.

RR: Is there a player you looked up to growing up?

DRH: I grew up playing center field so I had wall to wall Griffey posters, it was great getting to play with him a few times last year. I was a huge Rangers fan growing up so Nolan Ryan was my other favorite. I used to mimic his high leg kick when i started pitching.

RR: How did you feel when you got traded to the Reds?

DRH: At first I was a little hurt that I couldn't have played at home in Texas but I knew it was going to be a fresh start in a new organization. Especially coming over to a long established organization like the Reds was exciting.

RR: You got called up at the beginning of June for a short stint in the bullpen. What did you think about that experience, and how nervous were you to come into a game?

DRH: The experience was unreal but very short lived. My nerves were definitely there when I got called in, especially for it being my first game. Running in to a close game and a huge crowd was unforgettable.

RR: What was it like striking out Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell in your major league debut?

DRH: It couldn't have happened any better. I had seen some reports on them before getting in the game and made some good pitches to both of them. Hearing a silent crowd when I walked off the field was intense. More then anything I gained some respect from my teammates with that outing and it was the ideal way to break through.

RR: What's the biggest difference between the big leagues and the minors?

DRH: The instincts and mental aspects it takes to play the game is the biggest separating factor. Having the mental toughness to to dig yourself out of a hole or being able to keep a consistent mental approach throughout the year is crucial to the success of any player.

RR: How helpful have pitching coaches Ted Power and Dick Pole been in your development this past year?

DRH: Teddy was great to have in Louisville, he kept my focus where it needed to be and kept our pitching staff loose.

RR: You have the reputation of being somewhat of a junk baller. What do you throw?

DRH: I throw a 4-seam fastball, cutter, sinker, slurve, change-up, and screwball. I will obviously carry the junk-ball tag because I don't throw hard and I'm effective with my offspeed pitches, but my approach to hitters is different from your typical pitcher. I find value in movement and deception so I like to incorporate different speeds and arm angles to get outs.

RR: What is it about your screwball that makes it an effective pitch for you?

DRH: No one throws the thing anymore and being a lefty throwing a screwball lets me work with new angles and velocities. My arm speed is the real sell though, nothing slows down and it looks like a fastball.

RR: Who's the best hitter you've faced in the minors?

DRH: Chase Headley. In 2007, when I played against him in the Texas league, I couldn't get him out. I'll be looking forward to facing him next year.

RR: What player in the Reds organization impresses you the most?

DRH: I enjoyed throwing to Hanigan this past year. Pitchers can always appreciate a catcher who can handle the staff and call a solid game. He swings the bat really well and I like his chances to be our everyday catcher.

RR: What are your expectations for the Reds in 2009, and how do you anticipate fitting into the overall picture of the team?

DRH: I expect us to be a young hungry team. We have a great core of young guys and I can't wait to see us mix up the central division. I see myself fitting into the bullpen to go into any situation, whether it be long relief, lefty-lefty match-up, or with runners on. Honestly, I'll fit into any role to help our club win ballgames. My focus has been towards camp and winning a job.



I want to thank Danny Ray again for doing this interview. I thought he did a great job, and I'm really impressed at how down-to-earth the guy is, as well as how much he knows about his pitching. He's got the right mindset to use his unique talent to get guys out, and I don't think you can ask for anything more from a pitcher. I think I speak for most of the RR contingent by wishing him good luck for the season, and hoping he can come in and be a solid contributor in the bullpen.

HeatherC1212
12-06-2008, 02:30 AM
Great interview! I hope he makes the team out of spring training. Thanks for posting the article. :)

RedlegJake
12-06-2008, 04:07 AM
I like his remarks about Hanigan. I've said all along the stuff about Ryan being able to handle the staff are just wrong. It's his durability and whether he can handle starting the bulk iof the season that worries me. Keep him somewhere between 80-110 starts and I think he'll be a very solid catcher for the Reds.

remdog
12-06-2008, 05:27 AM
I'm really rooting for Danny. A guy with his short stature but his long on guts and guile mentality is someone that I can get emotionally behind as a Reds fan. Having said that, I do have some qualms that his pitches are hittable if batters get a lot of looks at them. He strikes me as being the kind of guy that is best used spareingly, here and there and not go through the batting order more than once.

Everyone mentions that he allowed no runs in 5 of his 7 appearances yet ignore the fact that, overall, he gave up 6 earned runs in 7.3 innings and had a whip of 1.73.

The 7.3 innings he pitched is truly a small sample size. I like this guy. He brings a lot different looks to the mound which can be very benificial at times. But, for me, he's got to show consistancy in getting a couple of guys out in tight situations in ST before I pencil him onto the 25 man roster.

Rem

SMcGavin
12-06-2008, 12:48 PM
Having said that, I do have some qualms that his pitches are hittable if batters get a lot of looks at them. He strikes me as being the kind of guy that is best used spareingly, here and there and not go through the batting order more than once.


Why? Of course most pitchers have to adjust when the league figures out what they throw, but why would it affect Herrera more than anyone else?

camisadelgolf
12-06-2008, 04:01 PM
Why? Of course most pitchers have to adjust when the league figures out what they throw, but why would it affect Herrera more than anyone else?

Lots of hitters are forever stuck in AAA because they have trouble with breaking pitches. It's the hitters who can hit the breaking pitches well who advance to the big leagues. Herrera practically relies solely on his breaking pitches, which doesn't bode well for him. I think he can make a difference on a Major League roster, but I do see him having a harder time than most established pitchers when it comes to adjusting to Major League hitters.

Mario-Rijo
12-06-2008, 05:57 PM
Why? Of course most pitchers have to adjust when the league figures out what they throw, but why would it affect Herrera more than anyone else?

That's a good question. And the only rational thing that I could come up is this. When a hitter sits on a fastball he can still be beat by it's velocity, when they sit on a Herrera fastball they aren't as likely to get beat by it. HR's will jack that ERA up there with the quickness.

mth123
12-06-2008, 06:31 PM
That's a good question. And the only rational thing that I could come up is this. When a hitter sits on a fastball he can still be beat by it's velocity, when they sit on a Herrera fastball they aren't as likely to get beat by it. HR's will jack that ERA up there with the quickness.

Trick pitch fools minor leaguers. Major leaguers, maybe not so much. That is a lot different than "stuff" based success.

Mario-Rijo
12-06-2008, 07:22 PM
Trick pitch fools minor leaguers. Major leaguers, maybe not so much. That is a lot different than "stuff" based success.

Well that's certainly true as well, I agree but felt that was in large part a given.

fearofpopvol1
12-06-2008, 08:22 PM
I think it's all about usage here. If he's overused, he'll get beat up. If not, I think he can be effective at the show.

TheNext44
12-06-2008, 09:47 PM
Lots of hitters are forever stuck in AAA because they have trouble with breaking pitches. It's the hitters who can hit the breaking pitches well who advance to the big leagues. Herrera practically relies solely on his breaking pitches, which doesn't bode well for him. I think he can make a difference on a Major League roster, but I do see him having a harder time than most established pitchers when it comes to adjusting to Major League hitters.

I believe the same thing was said about John Franco. He did throw a bit harder, but still, he relied on his breaking stuff for like 30 years, and hitters never adjusted.
Trevor Hoffman had one of his best years ever last year relying only on his changeup and a below average fastball. If you are a reliever, you can last a long time on really good breaking stuff. Hitters just don't see enough of you, even if you are used often. Each hitter will see you maybe 3-4 times a year, and most of the time less. Doesn't give much time to learn and adjust.

Not saying Hererra will last at all, but I see no reason why it should be harder for him than anyone else.

SMcGavin
12-07-2008, 01:26 AM
Trick pitch fools minor leaguers. Major leaguers, maybe not so much. That is a lot different than "stuff" based success.

I don't think Herrera's success is because of a "trick" pitch. He only throws the screwball around a third of the time (another third sliders and another third fastballs). He is successful because he's got a 20 MPH difference between pitches that come from about the same arm slot and arm speed. Coupled with good movement and control on those pitches. It's not conventional "stuff", but it's still good stuff.

camisadelgolf
12-07-2008, 06:42 AM
I believe the same thing was said about John Franco. He did throw a bit harder, but still, he relied on his breaking stuff for like 30 years, and hitters never adjusted.
Trevor Hoffman had one of his best years ever last year relying only on his changeup and a below average fastball. If you are a reliever, you can last a long time on really good breaking stuff. Hitters just don't see enough of you, even if you are used often. Each hitter will see you maybe 3-4 times a year, and most of the time less. Doesn't give much time to learn and adjust.

Not saying Hererra will last at all, but I see no reason why it should be harder for him than anyone else.

That's a very good point. I would like to point out, though, that one could argue that the hitters were a little different back then (and by 'different', I mean 'worse'). I would also point out, like you said, that Franco threw 88-91 MPH, which is very different from Herrera's 83-86 MPH fastball. That's like comparing guys who throw 95-98 and 90-93. They're two totally different leagues.

I think Herrera can be effective, but I do think he has some things to learn (i.e. everyone in MLB is waiting on his meatball of a fastball). The fastball is where almost every pitcher starts, and if you take that away from any pitcher, even Herrera, the pitcher has to figure out a whole new philosophy on getting hitters out.