Tyler Herb is a 25-year-old with 16 starts above Class-A. That’s a sentence that lets you know the odds are against him making the major leagues, much less thriving, so don’t get too excited by the news that the Giants traded for Herb. They got him in a minor deal with the Mariners, acquiring him for cash considerations. I’m thinking that the Giants paid extra to complete the Chris Heston trade, but I can’t confirm that anywhere.
But while I usually ask that you limit your excitement, you don’t have to limit your curiosity. This isn’t the typical Giants move, and I’m eager to see how it will work out.
Herb is a right-hander who was drafted in the 29th round in 2014 out of Coastal Carolina. He appeared in 20 games as a reliever and struck out plenty of batters, but also allowed plenty of runs. He had a rough conversion to starting in 2015, with a drop in strikeouts and increase in walks, which isn’t that uncommon. He got the strikeout rate back in High-A the next year, though, and even though he struggled after a promotion to Double-A, he’s thriving at the level this year.
Above-average movement (on his fastball), sink with moderate arm-side run, commands better to arm side, will leak in that direction and catch too much white when he goes glove-side; perceived velo plays up with closed delivery and extension, extra gear when he wants it, moderate swing-and-miss
And a video:
Herb is likely to be an organizational pitcher — Heston isn’t a bad comparison, really, considering the sinker and the slow, deliberate march through the minor leagues — but the Giants need some of those right now. Joan Gregorio was suspended, Tyler Beede is still finding himself, and Chris Stratton has been struggling for most of the season. They can use a safe, competent sinkerballer with potential for more. Here’s what his batterymate had to say about him last year:
“He’s got nasty stuff this year,” Blaze catcher Tyler Marlette added about Herb’s reinvention in 2016. “He was probably one of my tougher guys to catch, honestly. His two-seam runs so much, it’s just electric.”
Likely to thrive in the majors? Nope. Likely to even make the majors? Probably not. While I brought up Heston as a possible comparison, another one might be Justin Fitzgerald and every other minor leaguer with a career like his. The gulf between Double-A and Triple-A is wide, and that’s before you get to the chasm between Triple-A and the majors.
At the same time, the Giants got a modestly interesting prospect for Chris Heston, who isn’t even with the Mariners any more. Sinkerballers who can miss bats are my favorite song, so keep a close eye on Tyler Herb. Why, he could be the next Chris Heston!
And, really, if you’re going to have two first names, let the second one be something that’s underutilized today, like Herb. Solid work, Giants. Solid, solid work.