Matt Herges: The reason we look at peripherals

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2007, Matt Herges was a hero. Sported a low ERA, pitched in some big games during Rocktober, and most importantly, tossed 3 scoreless innings of relief in the game 163 tiebreaker to send the Rockies to their 2nd ever playoff berth.

Herges, who sported a career-low WHIP in 2007 (and his 2nd lowest season ERA) in 2007, watched his numbers fall apart to an ERA near double his 2007 tally and his whip skyrocketed to levels near his career worst.

So what has really changed?

Well, it's honestly hard to say. Take a look at the past 3 seasons of Matt Herges:

Season

Team

ERA

G

IP

TBF

2007

Rockies

2.96

35

48.2

191

2008

Rockies

5.04

58

64.1

294

2009

Indians

3.55

21

25.1

107

 

Just based on those numbers, it's looking as if we're dealing with 2 separate pitchers here: a downright solid long reliever in 2007, a mopup guy in 2008, and a decent middle reliever in 2009.

Let's check out his peripherals:

Season

Team

K/9

BB/9

K/BB

HR/9

FIP

2007

Rockies

5.55

2.77

2.00

0.74

4.00

2008

Rockies

6.44

3.36

1.92

0.70

4.06

2009

Indians

6.39

2.13

3.00

1.07

3.87

 

You can that Herges' K rate has actually improved a bit, but isn't too far off of his career K rate (6.14), and while his BB rate has fluctuated from year to year, it's actually better than his career BB rate (3.37). His HR rate has inched up a bit, but it's still at a decent level, just a bit above his career (0.84). Just looking at his FIP, it's pretty clear that Herges hasn't really changed TOOOOO much over the past couple of seasons.

The point to all this is Herges is pitching well now. He's not stellar, he's not mindblowing, but he's pitching above the level that he was in 2007 when we went to the World Series. I really think that he could be a solid addition to this ballclub. If the fact that he's still as decent as he was back when we was fab isn't enough to sell you, check out ZIPS' projections on him the rest of the season:

Season

Team

K/9

BB/9

K/BB

HR/9

AVG

WHIP

BABIP

LOB%

FIP

2009

ZIPS

6.28

2.67

2.35

0.94

.264

1.31

0.299

---

3.89

 

Frankly, those kind of numbers are the kind of numbers I want in my pen. We'd probably sign him to a MLC and then from there, wait until one of the relievers starts to fall apart. We need bullpen help, and I think Herges could be some of the help we're looking for.

Just like in 2007, Herges' money pitch has been his changeup, which Fangraphs lists as 2.80 runs above average per 100 changeups (I don't really know what this means, but it's his good pitch) but his fastball is lacking in excitement. He's lost about .5-1mph off of it since 2007, but at the same time, it was barely cracking 90 as it was.

So in essence, he still has some tools that we might need to use, and he could probably fill in where we're hurting. Is he the key acquisition we're looking for? Probably not, but he certainly can't hurt. Especially given the performance we saw tonight out of our other ragtag relievers.

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