Ronald Herrera Scouting Report (2014)
As a 5-foot-10, 168-pound starting pitcher who lacks big-time raw stuff, Ronald Herrera may not have the upward projection of some of his Low-A peers. But the Beloit Snappers‘ righthander is the youngest pitcher in the circuit and is outpitching several older, more heralded prospects through eight starts.
Ronald Herrera, who just turned 19, was a late 2011 international signing who the Oakland Athletics nabbed for a mere $20,000 bonus. Fast forward two-plus seasons and the Venezuelan teenager is proving to be among the best international bargains in his class. Through 43 2/3 innings in the Midwest League, Herrera is 2-4 with a 3.50 ERA and just 1.85 walks per nine innings. Occasional bumps in the road are expected in his development, but Herrera has given the Snappers a chance to win in six of his eight starts with quiet mound demeanor and a poise that belies his age.
In his May 13 home start against the Kane County Cougars, Herrera went 102 pitches deep over seven effective innings. He allowed six hits with no walks and five strikeouts. From the extreme first base side of the rubber, Herrera starts with his left foot forward before beginning his windup with a back-step and a waist-high leg kick. He has clean mechanics with an easy motion, low-3/4 arm slot and solid-average arm speed. His fastball velocity grades out as average, but he doesn’t demonstrate much effort to get there. With excellent body awareness, he repeats his delivery nicely. Herrera mixes his fastball, curveball and change-up well. All three pitches show promise.
Of Herrera’s 102 pitches, 63 were fastballs. Its velocity sat in the 89-91 mph range (89.4 mph average) and touched 93 once. The four-seamer has some moderate tailing action, but nothing to get excited about. But when he subtracts from his velocity a bit, it sinks and with cutting action.
Though it was inconsistent in its break and tightness, Herrera has the makings of an impressive curveball. It ranged from 71-74 mph (73.1 mph average). His best pitch of the night came in the 4th inning against Cougars backstop Will Remillard. After going down 1-0, Herrera snapped off a 72-mph curve with tight spin and late break for a called strike. He struck out Yasiel Balaguert in the 1st inning on three curves, the last of which had Balaguert helplessly lunging at the pitch. At other points, the pitch wasn’t sudden with the break predictable and early. Nonetheless, the Cougars couldn’t do any damage against it. Herrera threw 26 curves and the Cougars managed just one hit off of it – a defensive tap into left field by David Bote.
Herrera threw just 13 change-ups, which came in at 81-82 mph (81.7 mph average). He sells it well and it works arm-side in the same way as his two-seam fastball. He was able to induce a few grounders and caught Shawon Dunston swinging way out in front on his 98th pitch of the night. But he also left it flat and prone to damage at times, which Kane County exploited for its only run. Leading off the 5th inning, Jordan Hankins took an 80-mph changeup deep to right for a double. After Hankins took third on a David Bote groundout, Dunston hammered an 82-mph offering to the warning track for the sacrifice fly.
There’s nothing electric in Ronald Herrera’s repertoire, but the entire package plays up due to his advanced control/command and willingness to paint the corners and change speeds. Due to his youth and quick arm, it’s entirely possible that Herrera could find some projection and enhance his future role. With added consistency on his offspeed pitches, he projects as a dependable innings eater who could fill a nice role as a No. 4-5 starter with a contender.
TOOL PRESENT FUTURE PROJECTED ROLE N0. 4-5 STARTER ON A FIRST DIVISION TEAM Fastball 40 50 Curveball 35 50 Changeup 30 45 Control 55 65 Command 40 55
Owning Ronald Herrera
In most fantasy formats, this youngster won’t be relevant for at least three more years. He’s too young without any standout tools. Add him to watch lists and be prepared to wait. In deeper dynasty leagues, Ronald Herrera is an intriguing prospect to stash right now. In Reality Fantasy Baseball, he went for exactly the same bonus as the Athletics gave him – $20,000 – to a shrewd owner with a deep farm system. Whether one adds him now or later, Herrera has the potential to help in all but the shallowest of leagues in the future.
23 May 2014 / Bob Usselman /
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