2010 Player Reviews

Year In Review: David Herndon

With the 17th pick in the 2009 Rule 5 Draft, the Phillies plucked Kenneth David Herndon from the Angels’ farm system. As the Rule 5 Draft rarely yields significant Major League talent, nothing much was expected of Herndon and, well, nothing much was delivered. Herndon was adequate, falling victim at times to equal parts bad luck and a shaky arsenal of stuff and settling for an ERA of 4.30 when all was said and done.

Having finished the year with the Phillies, Herndon is now a full-fledged member of the organization, no longer required to be on the active 25-man roster in order to be kept. For that, he deserves some recognition. Sometimes, Rule 5 picks don’t last the year, and are offered back to their original franchise, exposed to waivers, and subsequently lost. Herndon may not have had the most impressive rookie year, but doing well enough to stay up at the Show for an entire year shouldn’t be discarded entirely.

On the whole, Herndon pitched 52.1 innings with 29 strikeouts and 17 walks, inducing a big 56.9 percent groundball rate, a figure that came in 16th in all of baseball among pitchers with 50-plus IP. That’s what Herndon is: a sinkerballer who will only strike out a few more people than Kyle Kendrick, but get plenty of groundballs in the meantime. Of course, that philosophy can backfire quickly, and Herndon’s .354 BABIP against was the 12th-highest mark in baseball. Part of that was bad luck, part of it subpar stuff in some outings, but it’s clearly not all Herndon’s fault.

Herndon seems likely to start the season in Triple-A, where some talk suggests he may be stretched out to become a starter, a position he frequented in the minors before the 2009 season. Failing that, the organization may instead opt to refine his secondary stuff in the hopes of keeping him in full-time relief.

In any case, there seems to be some latent potential within Herndon. Being able to induce as many groundballs as he does is a valuable skill, and if he can somehow refine his stuff enough to increase his strikeouts even a little bit, Herndon could be quite useful. He won’t be a Madson; that just won’t ever happen, but a career of ineffectiveness is far from a foregone conclusion.

So, all that said, 2010 was far from a world-beating year for Mr. Herndon. He took his lumps, made a jump from Double-A to the Bigs and survived. I find that admirable, but that admiration can only obscure the end results so much. The numbers are simultaneously better than and worse than they appear on the surface, so it’s difficult to label just what Herndon was or forecast what he will be. Here’s to an improved 2011, David.

PAUL’S GRADE: 5.5/10



  1. bacardipr05

    November 29, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I would give him a six. The guy only had 3 season in the minors. His secondary pitches need refinement. Your article was nearly spot on. If the Phils can get his strikeouts up a little bit he might indeed be an asset. Now that some of the players have seen him he might be more vulnerable. He definitely needs time in the minors. However for the most part he was well disciplined up there.

  2. brooks

    November 29, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Is David related to Larry Herndon?

    True David did not give up much that hurt him but, in those 52.1 innings, he gave up 67 hits and 17 walks that is a w.h.i.p of over 1.6 batters per inning. I never got all that cozy with Herndon. Fortunate, he only gave up 2 hrs all year (2 tp 1 ground ball to fly balls) – but his .321 average against doesn’t get me excited.

    I am hoping to see him on the early roster – lets see what he can do.

  3. bsizzle

    November 29, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Herndon’s high WHIP and BAA was due to his high BABIP, which has more to do with luck than anything. It would be nice if he continued to improve his control (he averaged less than 2 BB/9 in the minors, he was up around 3 in the majors) and missed more bats (although that seems unlikely). But I thought he held his own, which is all you could ask for from someone who hadn’t pitched above AA before the year.

    It’ll be interesting to see how he does as a SP. I think he’s a pretty good middle relief guy, but he becomes a lot more Kyle Kendrick-esque if they start stretching him out.

  4. Dan

    November 29, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Maybe these opinions are a little pessimistic. Manuel said that Herndon had a high ceiling. I say keep an eye on this guy, he might get somewhere.

  5. Ted Bell

    November 29, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    Jamie Moyer is going under the knife again on Wednesday…he never gives up…

    I’m Ted Bell.

  6. Bart Shart

    November 29, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Well written article and dead on point. Herndon probably has a future as a middle relief pitcher. He really needs some secondary pitches that he can get over the plate. He is a big, strong guy and we may be hearing from him sooner rather than later. I don’t know about him being a starting pitcher, but who knows?

  7. Pat Gallen

    November 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    I’m excited to see what Herndon can do this upcoming season. He has tools – mid-90’s fastball, great sinker…he just needs to hone that skill set and he can be a weapon in the bullpen.

  8. brooks

    November 29, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    That would be terrific for this great team to have a legit Rh in middle relief. I really did not see much in Herndon at all though, hope I’m wrong!

  9. brooks

    November 29, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    “Of course, that philosophy can backfire quickly, and Herndon’s .354 BABIP against was the 12th-highest mark in baseball. Part of that was bad luck, part of it subpar stuff in some outings, but it’s clearly not all Herndon’s fault.” I guess I dont get that statement. What is lucky regarding a .354 BABIP? The fact that Herndon had trouble keeping people off the bases not his fault – His leash has got to be pretty tight.

    He’s lucky his ERA isn’t 6.5

  10. Paul Boye

    November 30, 2010 at 1:37 am

    A typical BABIP is around .290-.300, and anything drastically above or below is typically a red flag for some bad luck. A mark of .350+, especially for a guy who has so many pitches put in play, is pretty alarming, but at the same time it’s very likely because of factors not totally under his control.

    If you think about it, all Herndon controls is where the pitch goes. He doesn’t control the batter’s swing path, the ball’s trajectory or velocity off the bat or his fielders’ positioning/ability to get to a ball. Sometimes, balls just find gaps in the defense more often than not, and not because of anything Herndon did or didn’t do.

  11. brooks

    November 30, 2010 at 8:04 am

    Just saw that Tulowitzki took a contract extension with the Rox. According to the source, it will be a seven-year extension to his current six-year, $31 million deal, under which he is guaranteed $25.75 million through 2013. The extension will begin with the Rockies picking up Tulowitzki’s $15 million option for 2014.

    So, he will be the Rox paid SS until 2020 at least.
    I’m guessing the folks in Colorado were swept up in the September to remember – 15 hrs, 40 rbi, .800 slg% –

    Is this a chance any of us would take? Tuts will be 36 by the end of this contract, he has played 4 full seasons but 2 of them (last season he missed 6 weeks) he was out due to injuries. Definitely has some pop and looks to be a .300 hitter in bloom.

    Would you take that kind of chance? Loonng deal, good chance by the end of 2015 or 16, they are looking to somehow bury this deal. That is a looonngg time.

  12. George

    November 30, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Good shortstops are hard to find, and ones with Tulo’s skills are close to impossible to find. Maybe the contract is too long, but it’s certainly no worse than Ryan Howard’s.

    People need to stop and think that although millions for an aging player may seem high NOW, in the future those millions might not be so rough due to inflation, and not so rough when one figures in the demands now being made–and met by many teams–by lesser talents.

  13. brooks

    November 30, 2010 at 10:14 am

    George my man, $160 Million over the last 7 years is a lot of *Fn money no matter which way I look at it.

    Not only that, it surely doesn’t help in effort to get Jayson to resign. If long range deals like this (Rube has been part of the problem, making long range mistakes with Raul’s and probably Poly’s contract – not long but at this age, long shot) are going to be expected now?

    Time will tell – and he is one good looking SS out there. A pain in the ass if I recall… I just think the odds are against a player going for 10 years. Anything can happen but your still paying for it down the line.

  14. betasigmashag

    November 30, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Really the Tulo contract will have nothing to do with Wreths, one Tulo is all of what 24 now, Jayson is what 32. Long term for young talent is not that bad, you do have the injury posibilities, but you avoid a raising contract number for the next 7 years. Now saying that 23 million for those seven years is a lot of money, and will probably effect their ability to really keep a competitive team at some point.
    Another reason it is different from Wreth, is that Tulo is RH bat to play right field


    November 30, 2010 at 10:48 am


  16. Chuck

    November 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    I have a feeling this guy is a major part of the pen for years to come.

  17. Lefty

    November 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Agree with Beta -Rox may actually be saving money by locking Tulo up now. And 8 years difference in age means Werth’s contract shouldn’t be affected by this extension. The yankees are finally starting to see the light with older guys. Jeter’s 3 year offer might have more effect on what Werth gets in terms of length than Tulo’s.

    I do not have a good feeling about Herndon, I sincerely hope I am wrong.

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