White Sox @ Dodgers June 16, 2012: Humber vs Billingsley

This morning, I’d started a few thoughts on Elian Herrera, intending to run them on Monday’s off day. Then Jon Weisman, Eric Stephen, & Steve Dilbeck all focused on Herrera today, and suddenly waiting until Monday seems silly. Here’s my partial contribution to Herrera-mania…

Here’s what most of us knew about Elian Herrera before he was called up on May 15: _________.

Maybe even less than that, actually. I try to keep the organizational depth chart as updated as best I can, and Herrera was one of those names I’d plug into an Albuquerque hole where I could without really thinking about it. When there was an infield spot open, he was an infielder. When they were short on outfielders, he was an outfielder; at points, I’m guessing, I didn’t even have him listed. Unlike minor leaguers who we’re all familiar with, like Jerry Sands or Zach Lee or even Trent Oeltjen, he was a name which created absolutely no emotional response, at least in me. He was Rafael Ynoa, or Casio Grider, or Joe Becker – multi-positional guys who were just guys, there mainly to round out the fringes of minor-league rosters, but unlikely to ever see the bigs.

When he was called up, we were partially wondering why he was coming – since at the time, we didn’t know Matt Kemp was headed to his initial disabled list stint – but mostly we were trying to figure out who exactly he was. And obviously, all Herrera has done since come up is hit, making starts at four positions as he’s continued to make a huge difference.

Of course, it helps to keep some historical perspective; when you go to Baseball-Reference and ask it to output a list of all players who made their debut at 27 or later and had an OBP of .395 or more in 100+ PA in their rookie season, the list is somewhat short:

Player OBP PA Year Age Tm R H 2B BB SO BA SLG OPS
Elian Herrera .395 115 2012 27 LAD 17 29 9 16 25 .296 .388 .782

I was going to go on and express appreciation and wonder at the job he’s done thus far. As for tonight, Herrera gets another start in center field tonight in place of Tony Gwynn; the White Sox lineup is unchanged other than for the pitcher. Chad Billingsley makes his second career start against Chicago, though it’s hard to make comparisons, because of the 11 White Sox who batted on that day in June 2009, only Paul Konerko and A.J. Pierzynski remain. On the other hand, each homered off Billingsley.

White Sox
Dodgers
CF
De Aza
SS
Gordon
2B
Beckham
CF
Herrera
LF
Dunn
RF
Ethier
1B
Konerko
2B
Hairston
RF
Rios
LF
Abreu
C
Pierzynski
C
Ellis
SS
Ramirez
1B
Loney
3B
Hudson
3B
Uribe
P
Humber
P
Billingsley

 

0 comments