Monday Rockpile: A Surprising Jonathan Herrera Fact

Doug Pensinger

Jonathan Herrera has been a polarizing figure here at Purple Row in the past, and as today's Rockpile points out, there may be a good reason for that.

Editor's Note: Today's Rockpile may or may not have been written by Jeff Huson

It should not come as a surprise to anyone that the Rockies have a terrible record over the last two seasons. Since April 9th, 2011, the Rockies are a full 52 games under .500. 133-185 to be exact. It also should not come as a surprise, although it probably will be upsetting to some folks on this board, that over that same period of time, Jonathan Herrera has recorded the 6th most plate appearances of anybody on the team behind only Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler, Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton, and Jordan Pacheco. (Pacheco, Herrera, and #7 on this list Chris Nelson are all really close).

However, I'm pretty sure the following will come as a surprise. Since April 9th, 2011, Jonathan Herrera has made 116 STARTS for the Rockies, and in those 116 starts, the Rockies are a .500 team. I've checked the math on this about eight times! 58 up, and 58 down. Meanwhile in the 202 games he didn't start, the Rockies went 75-127. If you take that .371 winning percentage and flatten it out to a 162 games season, you would have a 60-102 team. SO here's what we are left with - In Colorado's last 318 games, they are an 81 win team when Jonathan Herrera starts, and a 60 win team when he does not.

Now comes the hard part, we have to figure out why. Normally I'll put very little stock into something like this and dismiss it as a product of so many other variables at work, and that still might be the case here. However, once you get a large sample size (we at least have a moderate one here in 116 games) and the numbers are this skewed in one direction, you need to at least explore the possibilities on the table.

Do the defensive metrics underrate Herrera? Is he even better with a glove than he's given credit for and silently helping the team win more games that way than anyone realizes? Does he make others around him better? Do pitchers feel more confident with him in the infield? Is the fact that he's a decent on base percentage threat enough to minimize his complete lack of power at the plate? Or is it possible that all of this, 100% of these "team records Herrera starts the game" stats are a fluke?

I'm willing to bet that the answer here lies somewhere in the middle, but either way it's an interesting topic to explore; especially when the club just gave him a $900,000 contract this off season for what if all goes as planned will be a secondary role with this team. Either way though, the team's success when Herrera starts may shed some light on why the team thinks so highly of him.

Links

Troy Renck discusses what's next for Juan Nicasio and also has a quick Pomeranz's last starts as well as a couple of arms the Rockies might try to trade for just before the season starts.

Yahoo Sports talks a little with Todd Helton as he nears the end of his career.

The Yankees will be without Curtis Granderson until May after he broke a bone in his right arm yesterday while being hit by a pitch.

Baseball Prospectus released their top 101 prospects this morning. The three Rockies on the list were not surprising. However where they ranked is a bit of a different story as Trevor Story (33), David Dahl (40), and Nolan Arenado (57) all cracked the top 57. (That's the highest I've seen all three together so far)

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