So I think Jon Herrera has something similar to Yorvit Torrealba: the same nitty grittyness singles that we all love, but the fact their best months that made Rockies fans fall in love with them were mostly mirages of what their true talent levels are, and that were better options below them and even in free agency the next offseason.
Okay, so recently, I was browsing around Rockies sites as per usual, and I noticed a complaint about Chris Nelson being called up over Jon Herrera to replace Cook's spot for the next four days. While I realize it is impossible to call up Herrera unless Barmes is DL'ed or we wait a week, it got me thinking. Why on earth do Rockies fans consider Herrera to be the solution at second base instead of Chris Nelson, Eric Young Jr., or Clint Barmes. Herrera, in fact, posts Quintanilla-like production. Yeah, I went there, because going forward, we should expect Quintanilla-like production from Herrera.
For this, I'm going to show a relatively easy comparison using BABIP between the two of them. Quintanilla's BABIP in his year of regular at bats while Tulo was injured was a standard .294. Herrera's is at a .326 clip. Yes, I realize their styles of hitting aren't the same, since Herrera goes all out for batting average whilst Quintanilla is more standard with his. I have no issue in thinking that Herrera can keep a BABIP over .300, but still, their talent levels are similar. We all know that Herrera put up a stretch where he managed to dink out these perfectly placed hits. However, even with his hot streak, his OPS for the season is a .662. That just won't cut it and makes him a fringe major leaguer. Quintanilla wasn't any better at a .638 clip in 2008, but he least clipped for a .110 ISO, where as Herrera's was a .049. That means that even if Herrera hit .300, which involves more BABIP than the above average one he owns now, he still barely OPS's over .700. The same holds true for his minor league numbers: it's no coincidence that the only time Herrera posted above a .700 OPS in the past 4 years was the one year he hit over .300.
So is you keep the stats only to triple A numbers, Herrera's never posted an ISO over .070 in the hitter friendly PCL playing in CS half the time. If we took the average line Herrera had over his 3 years at CS, (.282/.357/.348), it translates to a (.242/.300/.292), which fits perfectly in line with his MLB ISO, and the isolated mark between his average and OBP. His success in the MLB is completely BABIP based, and while I have no issue putting his defense out in the field, I do have issues when Barmes is one of the better fielding 2nd basemen in the league and since you can mark him down for at least a .700 OPS with power each year, not to mention his improvement on his walk % and his K %. Now, back to my Herrera is as valuable as Quintanilla argument. You put his AAA numbers in (.298/.365/.426) and MLE spits out a (.256/.307/.355). It's basically his 2008 season with a little more luck. Funnily enough, it's exactly Herrera's OPS this year, so basically, if luck wasn't involved at all, Herrera's not looking as good as Q when he started, huh?
Look, I'm not trying to insinuate that we should give Q a roster spot over Herrera, but it's blantantly apparent that Herrera,even with things going right for him this year, isn't at Barmes' true talent level, but in fact closer to Quintanilla. Who knows, things may change; Herrera could flop at his next chance and turn into a second Q for us or turn into the second coming Jamey Carroll for us, but that still doesn't justify the fact that we have a potential .800 OPS 2nd base bat with solid defense and a potential leadoff 2nd baseman with average defense rotting in Triple A because we not only have Barmes ahead of them, but Herrera, who at best can only put up an OPS right above .700, taking potential at bats away from them. I know the mods here understand this, but some look at just the positives he brought for us while replacing Tulo and not the fact that everything Herrera has done before supports the fact that he played over his head. This is also not an attempt to take away everything Herrera has done for us, but an explanation saying that there are better options and that Herrera's third MLB stint could possibly be very similar to his 2008 stint, which wasn't pretty.