Tyler Herb was traded to the San Francisco Giants on July 3rd for cash. Eight starts into his Giants career, he’s thrown a complete game in Richmond.
The San Francisco Giants made a trade with the Seattle Mariners for a minor league pitcher, who was NOT the PTBNL for the Chris Heston trade.
Herb was a 29th round draft pick for the Seattle Mariners in 2014. The 6’2″ righty is a native of Harrisburg, PA and spent his college time at Coastal Carolina University. Herb had a difficult time in his rookie season with the Clinton LumberKings, the Full Season A level affiliate for the Mariners.
In an interview with Today’s Knuckleball, he admitted he was majorly unprepared.
"“Honestly, last year I knew I had a terrible season,” Herb told me sheepishly. “I was not prepared. I knew going into spring training last year that I was not prepared.”He paused.“I did not want that to happen again.”"
In 2016 he earned a quick callup to the AA Jackson Generals. Across all levels of 2016, he held a 3.98 ERA in 26 starts. He had 134 strikeouts and 55 walks in 140.1 innings.
This year he’s already thrown ten more innings in two less starts, has more strikeouts, and is on place for a lower walk total, getting his 2017 WHIP to 1.24. In his eight starts so far with Richmond, he’s thrown 52.1 innings, with a 2.58 ERA. Opponents are hitting only .232 off him.
Last night, Herb threw a complete game. The flying Squirrels destroyed the Erie Seawolves (Detroit Tigers) 11-1. Herb only walked one, and surrendered five hits. He only struck out five, but high strikeout rates have never been his M.O.
Herb throws three pitches: a fastball with sink and decent arm-side run that can get up to 93, a curveball that he can manipulate the break and shape of really well, and then a changeup. According to Baseball Prospectus, he has back end of the rotation potential, but could turn into a solid middle reliever. Here is what that Baseball Prospectus report says:
"The delivery is low-effort, though it isn’t the most fluid and combined with some length in crossing his body to his release point the fine command might never get there. If it does there’s potential for a back-end rotation future as a groundballer who misses the occasional bat."
Herb isn’t going to be a top prospect, and that’s fine. Not everyone turns into Bumgarner, Kershaw, Sale, or Kluber. However, what he brings to the table screams “right handed Ty Blach.” His MLB ETA is 2018 according to multiple scouting reports, and I don’t think that will be entirely feasible unless he forces himself in through a bullpen role. But 2019 could also be a good target for him.
The longer it takes for him to force his way in, the more likely he becomes a bullpen guy. We all know the Giants could use good help there, and if that’s where it’s at for him, then the Giants could fill a hole a lot cheaper, and from within.