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Thread: Danny Herrera Article: Throw-in Shows He Also Can Throw

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    Danny Herrera Article: Throw-in Shows He Also Can Throw

    http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/...43/1002/SPORTS


    May 21, 2008


    Throw-in shows he also can throw

    Bats' 5-6 Herrera truly a short reliever, but he might not be long for Louisville

    By C.L. Brown
    cbrown@courier-journal.comThe Courier-Journal

    Danny Herrera is used to being the "short guy," so being the "other guy" in a major trade wasn't new.

    The Louisville Bats reliever was the unknown factor the Cincinnati Reds acquired in their December trade with Texas. The Reds sent outfielder Josh Hamilton to the Rangers for starting pitcher Edinson Volquez and Herrera, a 5-foot-6 southpaw reliever.

    Hamilton has thrived in Texas, leading all of major league baseball with 50 RBIs going into last night's action. Volquez (7-1) has been a runaway success for the Reds and leads the National League with a 1.33 ERA.

    And Herrera?

    "He was the other player," Bats manager Rick Sweet said. "Obviously, the main guy (Volquez) is doing great, but Herrera is doing great down here. He keeps moving up the ladder, and we may very well see him at the next level before the year is out."

    Promoted from Double-A Chattanooga on April 24, Herrera had two saves and a 0.66 ERA going into last night's game at Indianapolis. He's quietly making a name for himself the same way he always has.

    "It wasn't a big deal that I wasn't really mentioned in the trade," he said. "I was a minor league guy just thrown in the mix. I like being kind of behind the scenes to do my own thing."

    It's always been that way. Herrera, 23, is the only Bats pitcher under 6 feet tall. The team lists him at 5-8, but he says he's really 5-6.

    He almost always has been the shortest pitcher on his team. And usually he's been underestimated.

    Herrera is from Odessa, Texas, and went to Permian High School of "Friday Night Lights" fame. When he arrived at the University of New Mexico, pitching coach Ryan Brewer told him he didn't think he had major league potential.

    "At the time he was right," Herrera said. "I was an 18-year-old kid with not a lot of stuff. You don't see very many guys with not very much velocity and a small stature make it up there."

    As a starter in his final year at New Mexico, Herrera led the team in nearly every major stat, including wins (10-0), ERA (2.24) and strikeouts (104), and was named a third-team All-American by Baseball America.

    He said Brewer admitted he was wrong. Herrera credits his former pitching coach for helping him develop the array of pitches he has needed to be effective.

    Herrera doesn't overpower hitters but throws several pitches well. Most relievers stick to a fastball and one or two offspeed pitches. Herrera throws what he calls "seven different kinds of smoke."

    The best of them is his screwball that, as the name suggests, is quirky and uncommon and leaves most hitters flabbergasted. It also keeps them off-balance and makes his mid-80s fastball more effective.

    "His stuff makes him unique," Bats pitching coach Ted Power said. "He knows how to use it against all hitters -- righties, lefties, singles hitters, power hitters. He knows how to mix it up.

    "We're not afraid to put him in there at any time."

    Most hitters aren't exactly scared to see him coming to the mound, but that's exactly how Herrera likes it.

    "I hope they don't think much of me when I first face them," he said. "They know what kind of pitches I throw, but they don't know me. It gives me somewhat of an edge."

    Herrera gave up just eight hits and two walks over 132/3 innings in his first 10 appearances with the Bats. It might be hard for him to keep a low profile much longer if he continues to stand tall on the mound.

    "If I motivate any other small people to play ball on a higher level, then that's great," he said. "But I keep a simple frame of mind with a simple goal: to make it to the big leagues."

    C.L. Brown can be reached at (502) 582-4044.

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  3. #2
    Making sense of it all Matt700wlw's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Herrera Article: Throw-in Shows He Also Can Throw

    I'm anxious to see what he can do at the big league level....may end up being nothing, but he's different, which isn't always a bad thing.

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    Re: Danny Herrera Article: Throw-in Shows He Also Can Throw

    http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog...name=neyer_rob


    Herrera's tall tale posted: Thursday, May 22, 2008

    Here's a minor leaguer to follow: Danny Herrera, the throw-in in the Edinson Volquez-Josh Hamilton deal last winter. Herrera was barely mentioned, but he's pitching brilliantly in the minors and, as C.L. Brown writes, there's really nobody else quite like him.

    "It wasn't a big deal that I wasn't really mentioned in the trade," he said. "I was a minor league guy just thrown in the mix. I like being kind of behind the scenes to do my own thing."

    It's always been that way. Herrera, 23, is the only [Louisville] Bats pitcher under 6 feet tall. The team lists him at 5-8, but he says he's really 5-6.

    He almost always has been the shortest pitcher on his team. And usually he's been underestimated.

    Herrera is from Odessa, Texas, and went to Permian High School of "Friday Night Lights" fame. When he arrived at the University of New Mexico, pitching coach Ryan Brewer told him he didn't think he had major league potential.

    "At the time he was right," Herrera said. "I was an 18-year-old kid with not a lot of stuff. You don't see very many guys with not very much velocity and a small stature make it up there."

    As a starter in his final year at New Mexico, Herrera led the team in nearly every major stat, including wins (10-0), ERA (2.24) and strikeouts (104), and was named a third-team All-American by Baseball America.

    He said Brewer admitted he was wrong. Herrera credits his former pitching coach for helping him develop the array of pitches he has needed to be effective.

    Herrera doesn't overpower hitters but throws several pitches well. Most relievers stick to a fastball and one or two offspeed pitches. Herrera throws what he calls "seven different kinds of smoke."

    The best of them is his screwball that, as the name suggests, is quirky and uncommon and leaves most hitters flabbergasted. It also keeps them off-balance and makes his mid-80s fastball more effective.


    Before this season, Baseball America did not include Herrera among a list of the Reds' top 30 prospects. In John Sickels' book, he wrote up 39 of Cincinnati's prospects, and did include Herrera as one of 12 Grade-C prospects. That's the lowest grade in the book -- there's no such thing as a C- or D prospect -- so it seems likely that if Sickels had limited himself to 30 Reds, Herrera wouldn't have made the cut.

    But some of that is due to Herrera's projected role. As Sickels wrote, "His size and lack of velocity will keep him out of major roles, but I think he can be an effective short reliever, no pun intended."

    As we've seen many times, in the minors you don't need a big fastball, or any fastball at all, to rack up strikeouts if you're doing everything else well. Remember Kirk Saarloos? He was another little guy (though of course not this little) who piled up plenty of strikeouts until he reached Triple-A. Most young pitchers without decent fastballs eventually hit a wall.

    How rare is a 5-6 pitcher in the major leagues? Hard to say, because official heights for pitchers are notoriously inaccurate. At least for the shorter ones. Basically, any time you see a pitcher listed at 6-0 or shorter, you may assume he's actually an inch or two shorter than that. Since World War II, there have been only three major league pitchers listed as 5-6. There were 13 listed at 5-7, and 12 at 5-8 (I'm not counting position players pressed into emergency pitching duties).

    I suppose the most famous short pitcher was 5-6 Bobby Shantz, who won 119 games over 16 seasons, and in 1952 won 24 games and was the AL's MVP. Shantz was never really healthy after that season, but did hang around for a long time and usually was pretty effective. We don't know how hard he threw, but his fastball was probably his third-best pitch, after his curve and knuckleball. Shantz once described his fastball as "pretty good," while an article in Baseball Digested said it was "fair." My guess is that Shantz's fastball was, relative to his peers, better than Herrera's.

    Another famous short pitcher was 5-8 Roy Face, a forkball specialist who probably was the best reliever in the National League from 1957-67 (roughly speaking).

    Of course, everybody was smaller in those days. We get a much smaller list if we look at just the last few decades (and remember, there are more teams now than in the 1950s and '60s). From 1977-2007, there have been only nine pitchers listed at 5-8 or shorter. I remember only three of them.

    Fred Norman, 5-8, pitched for the Big Red Machine, and from 1973-79 he won 11, 12, 13 or 14 games every season.

    Richie Lewis, 5-6, pitched for the Orioles in 1992, then went to the Marlins in the expansion draft and pitched well for them in '93. I'd completely forgotten that he was short. I remember him for being stocky, and throwing a good overhand curveball.

    Knuckleballer Danny Boone -- Daniel Hugh Boone -- was noted for being a distant relative of the Daniel Boone, and also for reaching the majors after starring in the Senior Professional Baseball Association, six years after leaving organized baseball.

    So I'll be pulling for Herrera. Not only because he's short, but also because he throws a screwball, a pitch rarely seen in this era (oddly enough, Norman relied on that pitch during his prime). But I'm not setting the bar too high. I'll be thrilled if Herrera throws just one pitch in the majors.
    Tim McCarver: Baseball Quotes
    I remember one time going out to the mound to talk with Bob Gibson. He told me to get back behind the batter, that the only thing I knew about pitching was that it was hard to hit.

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    Re: Danny Herrera Article: Throw-in Shows He Also Can Throw

    We're really going to miss Krivsky (even though Hamilton is currently 1st in the AL in AVG, RBI, and HR...aka, the Triple Crown). You just can't pay enough for good pitching. It's almost impossible to trade for a young potential ACE, which Volquez certainly qualifies as. Herrera is a legitimate addition to the team from 2009 to 2012.
    Last edited by Kingspoint; 05-23-2008 at 01:49 AM.

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    Re: Danny Herrera Article: Throw-in Shows He Also Can Throw

    I'd like to see if he could be a starter, why not?

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    Party like it's 1990 Blitz Dorsey's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Herrera Article: Throw-in Shows He Also Can Throw

    Quote Originally Posted by Kingspoint View Post
    We're really going to miss Krivsky (even though Hamilton is currently 1st in the AL in AVG, RBI, and HR...aka, the Triple Crown). You just can't pay enough for good pitching. It's almost impossible to trade for a young potential ACE, which Volquez certainly qualifies as. Herrera is a legitimate addition to the team from 2009 to 2012.
    Easy now my friend. For every good thing Krivsky did, I could point to a major draft blunder (Stubbs), several bad contracts (Gonzalez, Ross, Arroyo [should have waited on Bronson who was locked up for two more years], Freel, Stanton, Cormier, Castro, Coffey, etc.) and other incompetent moves.

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    Party like it's 1990 Blitz Dorsey's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Herrera Article: Throw-in Shows He Also Can Throw

    I am very encouraged by Herrera's numbers this year. I think he can be an effective Big League pitcher even at 5-6. That will really tip the scales in our favor in The Blockbuster.

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    Will post for food BuckeyeRedleg's Avatar
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    Re: Danny Herrera Article: Throw-in Shows He Also Can Throw

    This kid has done nothing but succeed at every level since his senior year in college. Wow!

    Forgive me if anyone has used this comparison before, but......

    John Franco

    Good find by Mr. Krivsky and his scouts.


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