For the last two years, Jimmy Herget has been on the verge of the big leagues for the Reds. The organization’s top relief prospect finally joined the 40-man roster in November and is in a good position to contribute to the 2019 team.
The slim righthander stands 6-foot-3 and can blend into about any crowd until he starts throwing. That’s when his sidearm slot stands out. That whip-like arm movement creates movement and makes him a difficult matchup for batters.
“It’s not a comfortable at-bat, not a comfortable at-bat at all,” vice president of player development Shawn Pender said.
Herget was selected to play in the 2017 Futures Game and then promoted to Triple-A Louisville. He spent all of 2018 in the International League, where he recorded a 3.47 ERA in 50 appearances with 65 strikeouts and 21 walks in 59.2 innings.
Herget’s ERA jumped up by nearly half a run at Louisville in 2018, the result of a .327 batting average on balls in play, compared with .283 the year before. Same-side batters have traditionally been bewildered by Herget’s side-winding motion, but the hits fell in more often in 2018.
“When he locates that fastball in and starts to work it to both edges, it’s not a real comfortable at-bat for a lefty,” Pender said. “Obviously lefties aren’t bothered as much by a lower angle, but he gets some ‘bowl’ on the ball with lefties, when he gets it on their hands. It’s not a lot of fun, either.”
Pender said Herget, a 2015 sixth-rounder out of South Florida, has added even more movement—and more importantly, location—to his pitches in the last year, something that should help him against more experienced batters.
“I think he’s become more consistent,” Pender said. “Like every kid, he went through an adjustment period as he went through higher levels, and guys—especially lefthanders—were able to square up more balls than he was used to.
“He made some adjustments and tried to add some deception to what he does by changing the tempo of his delivery and some slot angles.”
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