The Oakland A's sent one of their best young pitching prospects to the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, as right-hander Ronald Herrera was announced as the player to be named later in the Kyle Blanks deal. Jake Goebbert was the other player included in that swap.
Herrera, who just turned 19 earlier this month, is off to a solid start in his first season at a full-season level. In 50.2 innings for the Beloit Snappers, Herrera has a 3.38 ERA and a 35:10 K:BB. A native of Venezuela, Herrera signed with the A's on December 11, 2011. He made his debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2012, posting a 2.47 ERA in 58.1 innings.
In 2013, Herrera made his debut in the United States, splitting his season between the A's Arizona Rookie League team and the short-season Vermont Lake Monsters. In 78.1 innings, he had a 4.02 ERA and a 66:13 K:BB. Herrera continued to impress the A's coaching staff during fall Instructs. After a strong spring training, the then-18-year-old was sent to the Midwest League as the youngest pitcher on the Beloit Snappers' staff.
A's minor league pitching coordinator Scott Emerson has raved about Herrera's pitching mechanics.
"This guy, for me, is awesome," Emerson said in an interview with OaklandClubhouse last week. "He is fun to watch compete and pitch. He pounds the bottom of the strike-zone. For a guy who just turned 19 like he did, to have a change-up and a curveball like he does and to be able to move a ball to both sides of the plate, it's fun to watch him pitch.
"He's a guy you just sit back and watch. You don't fiddle with him much. You can tell him how to pitch. You may mention his delivery, but you are able to coach his mental game more because his delivery is very good."
Herrera's final start with Beloit came on Saturday when he earned the win in the Snappers' victory over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in a game that was played at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Herrera allowed just two runs on two hits and one walk in seven innings. He struck-out six.
Blanks joined the A's on May 16 after being acquired the day before. He has four hits in 14 at-bats, including one homerun. He has also walked once and has been hit by a pitch. Goebbert has seven hits in 42 at-bats for Triple-A El Paso since the deal. Two of the hits are homeruns. He has also walked seven times.