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Thread: Danny Ray Herrera

  1. #1
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    Danny Ray Herrera

    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.

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  3. #2
    A Lost Ball In High Weeds shredda2000's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    Very insightful...thanks for the post!
    "I don't want to embarrass any other catcher by comparing him to Johnny Bench."
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  4. #3
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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    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!
    "On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage," Baker said. "Clogging up the bases isn't that great to me."

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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    Thanks for the insight.
    I hope it's never sunny in Philly again.

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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    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.
    Who's on first?

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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    Good post, thanks!

  8. #7
    The Future GoReds33's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    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.
    If you can't build a winning team with that core a fire-sale isn't the solution. Selling the franchise, moving them to Nashville and converting GABP into a used car lot is.
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  9. #8
    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    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.
    If you have a losing record at Reds games, please stop going.

  10. #9
    Kmac5 KoryMac5's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    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.
    If you have a losing record at Reds games, please stop going.

  11. #10
    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    At the moment, I'm thinking Danny Ray Herrera compares to a pre-Reds Rheal Cormier.

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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    Quote Originally Posted by danwl View Post
    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?

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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    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

  14. #13
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    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.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  15. #14
    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    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.

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    Re: Danny Ray Herrera

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    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.


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