Prospect Talk

Prospect Spotlight: Iván Herrera

At 23 years old, Herrera has been putting in work with the St. Louis Cardinals since way back in 2016 when he was signed as a 17-year-old out of Panama. He has slowly climbed the ladder a rung at a time and has seen brief glimpses of MLB the past two seasons and is primed to contribute for the Cardinals this year.

Standing a little under six foot tall and weighing in around 220 pounds, Herrera is a compact catcher who does everything right around average and there is no glaring hole in his game. For his minor league career, Herrera has amassed 44 home runs and 22 stolen bases in 413 games while carrying a .280/.391/.432 slash line.

There may be some more power lurking in Herrera`s bat than what he`s shown so far, I believe. In Triple-A last year, Herrera posted a 90th percentile exit velocity of 106.8 with an 8.80% barrel rate, which were both above average. In a very small sample size from when he was called up, Herrera was only barreling the ball 4% of the time, although his hard-hit rate was at 61%.

I think this is where Herrera is going to struggle, we`re finding more and more evidence that a player`s groundball rate in the minors often will be what it is in Major League Baseball. He routinely sits in the high-40`s to fifty percent groundball rate which is more than you`d like to see from a well, not fleet of foot, catcher.

Herrera also makes good swing decisions in general, although he borders on complacency a lot it seems with a 38% swing-rate last season in Triple-A. But, when he swings he makes good contact, running a 81% zone-contact rate last year in the minors. He also is very willing to take a walk (that complacency angle again), with a 20% walk rate last year, and that`s in over 340 plate appearances! He has routinely sat in the mid-teens for a walk rate so it isn`t exactly a fluke (which as Kevin Malone reminded us in “The Office”, a fluke is one of the most common fish there is) either.

All of this to say, whenever Willson Contreras decides to head to the land of the DH, Herrera should be able to step right in and be the “guy.” He probably won`t be a top-five fantasy catcher, but I don`t think he`ll hurt you in any category and will probably elevate your OBP rate, and hey, what more can we really ask from a catcher.

The Author

Ryan Epperson

Ryan Epperson

Lead prospect analyst and managing editor for The Dynasty Guru.

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