A Little LOOGY Depth

Series Preview: Cincinnati Reds
This week's annotated box score
(Photo Credit: The Cincinnati Enquirer)

We’ve been looking at available left-handed relievers pretty much all season and have already covered guys like David Purcey, Randy Flores, Jerry Blevins, and J.C. Romero, so let’s look at another that hit the market this weekend: Danny Ray Herrera. The former 45th round pick of the Rangers (2006) is the forgotten piece of the Josh Hamilton-Edinson Volquez trade (he went to Cincy as well), and he made his debut later that season. He’s ridden the bus between the bigs and Triple-A ever since. The Brewers claimed him off waivers last month, then designated him for assignment over the weekend because they needed a fresh arm after their pitching took a beating on Friday night. Pros and cons, here we come….

The Pros

  • It’s a relatively small sample (183 plate appearances), but Herrera has held left-handed batters to a .213/.278/.306 batting line with a 6.95 K/9 and 50.8% ground ball rate in his big league career. His minor league numbers against same side batters (in a larger sample) are similar as well.
  • Herrera has done most of his pitching in big time hitter friendly environments, so at least he’s been through that before. The vast majority of his big league career with spent with the Reds and Great American Ballpark, and he spent his college career pitching at altitude for New Mexico. It’s like Coors Field without the humidor.
  • Herrera is in his last option year, so he can be stashed in the minors and/or called up and down as much as needed the rest of the season. He’s also under team control for the next four years, if it comes to that.

The Cons

  • Herrera’s stuff is as unspectacular as his 5-foot-6, 165 lb. frame. His out pitch is a Bugs Bunny changeup (he calls it a screwball) that sits in the high-60’s and has gotten a swing and miss 15.4% of the time in his big league career. You can see two of them at the 0:25 mark of this video. The changeup/screwball makes his low-80’s fastball look fastball than it really is, and he also throws a low-70’s slider. That won’t get the job done on paper.
  • As LOOGY’s tend to be, Herrera is unusable against righties. They’ve tagged him for a .373/.428/.549 batting line in 231 plate appearances

I’m an unabashed Herrera fan, so I would love to see the Yankees grab him. In reality, he’s very flawed and certainly not the kind of guy they need to rush out and acquire. If he slips to them on waivers, then sure, place a claim and stick him in the Triple-A bullpen for depth purposes. If not, well no big deal. Herrera has not been used optimally so far in his big league career (almost 60% of all the batters he’s faced have been righties), which is part of the reason why his overall numbers have been so ugly. Perhaps it’s my bias, but I think Herrera’s a better use of a 40-man roster spot than the Jeff Marquezes and Buddy Carlyles of the world.

Series Preview: Cincinnati Reds
This week's annotated box score
  • nsalem

    The 1952 AL MVP was also 5 feet 6 inches, also a lefty pitcher and he only weighed 140 pounds.
    Size doesn’t matter.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Danny Ray Herrera

    Serial killer.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Andrew Miller for LOOGY!!!!!

    • Mister Delaware

      Don’t freak out, but my wife was just given her company tickets. I’m going to see Andrew Miller in person!!!

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        (sharts pants)

        • Mister Delaware

          Opposed by Wade LeBlanc. Might want to put a protective shield on the Monster.

      • Mister Delaware

        He telegraphs his curve.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Let’s pick him up so he can give us an inside scouting report on the Reds.

    Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini

  • MannyGeee

    that screwball is kinda nasty (or at least that video made it look pretty)… of course I could see it being a total batting practice pitch if Herrera is not ‘on’…

    get it done, waiver claims FTW!

  • Will

    Mike, how about Sean Marshall? Do you think the Cubs would trade him to us? If so, what would it take to acquire him?

  • Jose the Satirist

    Mike, I don’t think that video you linked to is his screwball. He is a LHP so the screwball will break towards a left handed batter, that video has it breaking away from the left handed batter and towards the right handed batter.

    I found an actual video of him throwing it. Poor quality but visible at 0:15 mark – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8SoHoJsVbM
    (Note how it breaks away from the right handed batter)

  • CS Yankee

    The thing about screwball pitchers is that they throw it because they don’t offer much else.

    It is suppose to be the hardest pitch on your elbow as you “finish” it by snaping your wrist the other way making it move the other way (in on a RHB from a RHP).

    The revolving door is okay, but all these guys seem the same (low .220 BA as loogy’s)…I’m saying this and I’m anti Logan results and belief of Logan.


  • nsalem

    Lefties are hitting only .155 of of our own wonderful, clutch. unshakeable, generous and charitablel Mr. HighSocks. He’s also darn good against righties.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Yeah, but we only have one of him. Don’t want to burn him out, Torre-style.

  • Greg

    I am a proponent on picking up itchers that throw weird stuff because it usually gives us the edge. The screwball is one of these pitches. I like him.

  • http://washingtonplantation.com Tom in Georgia

    Elroy Face, anyone?

  • Tim

    How is it that a lefty with a screwball is so unbelievably ineffective against right handed batters? The screwball is supposed to be murder on righties. And pitching a lefty with a change-up out-pitch as a LOOGY in YSIII sounds like a terrifying idea to me. Nothing like speeding up the bat facing that delightful short porch in right.

  • FernandoP

    I’d consider him and drop Randy Flores. Herrera has been much more effective versus lefties. If kept solely as a LOOGY, he might be effective. It might as free up Logan to pitch to more batters, as oddly he’s been better vs righties than lefties.

    I much prefer one of these guys…
    Sean Marshall, Cubs – .234 vs LHB/.265 vs RHB
    Mike Dunn, Florida – .193 vs LHB/.204 vs RHB
    Randy Choate, Florida – .210 vs LHB/.279 vs RHB
    George Sherill, Braves – .176 vs LHB/.272 vs RHB

    Marshall and Dunn figure to cost the most, as they are younger and still relatively cheap/under team control for longer. Sherill’s a free agent at the end of the season, while Choate has one year left at a reasonable 1.5M salary.

    Dunn was part of the Javy Vazquez trade. So seeing that Florida now has Vazquez, shouldn’t they have to give the Yanks Dunn?

    • fire levine

      That trade stings just a little more now