TCN 2014 Cardinals Prospect #27: Juan Herrera

Not many are aware of the new arrival from Cleveland, but the shortstop may open eyes in 2014.

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2013 and career stats)

2013 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NA SS 6/28/1993 5-11 165 R R 2010 trade

Home: Bani, Dominican Republic

Selected 2013 stats

MV 0.275 0.336 149 20 41 9 1 11 16 30 2 0.354 0.366 0.369 0.735
SC 0.067 0.071 15 1 1 0 0 0 2 1 0 0.141 0.176 0.067 0.243
Peo 0.271 0.365 85 5 23 4 0 3 7 22 2 0.310 0.333 0.318 0.651
Total 0.261   249 26 65 13 1 14 25 53 4   0.344 0.333 0.677

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

Message board community (40): Unranked by the community until number 40, Juan Herrera was the piece the Cardinals received from Cleveland in return for Marc Rzepczynski.

Still very little information known about the young Dominican shortstop who held his own in the New-York-Penn League in 2013. What is encouraging about Herrera is his ability to get on base, as his career minor league on base percentage is .370. He did not receive much attention in the shortstop-deep Indians system, but his track at the lower levels has some positive markers. Herrera does not have much that power, but he will take a walk and does not strikeout excessively, qualities which likely attracted the Cardinals.

The Cardinals like these high on-base, disciplined hitters, like Mike O'Neill, though there are not many like him. Defensively, all you can go by is that Herrera has split time between second and short. In a Q&A, Cardinals scouting director Dan Kantrovitz had this to say about Herrera.

"A third player people may not be as familiar with is a guy we just traded for, Juan Herrera," Kantrovitz said. "He has some of the best defensive skills in the system and is fun to watch and definitely worth keeping an eye on."

While still young, Herrera is going to have to stick at shortstop to have much value, because he has no pop in his bat. I could see Herrera starting at the level at which he finished in 2013, given it was only 23 games with Peoria. - DTFlush234

Brian Walton (24): Because Herrera only joined the Cardinals system at the end of July, I paid special attention to him in the fall instructional league camp and asked a number of people about him. It did not take long for the 20-year-old to open the eyes of any who had not already seen him play for the Tribe.

2013 second-rounder Oscar Mercado has yet to appear in this countdown. The recipient of $1.5 million is still considered to have the better overall upside, but it is Herrera who seems to have been deemed the best fielding shortstop currently in the system. For me, that carries a lot of weight, hence my personal number 24 ranking.

Plenty was known about Herrera from his time in the Indians system. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound right-handed hitting native of Bani, Dominican Republic, was signed by Cleveland as a non-drafted free-agent on October 6, 2010.

"Herrera was a highly regarded lower level SS that Indians loved. Made big strides this year with game but just loaded with SS in system," tweeted Indians farm system expert Tony Lastoria of FOX Sports SportsTime Ohio when the trade was announced. Prior to the season, Herrera was ranked 93rd on Lastoria's Cleveland top 100 prospects list.

We shouldn't expect the next coming of Ozzie Smith or anything, but noting that Herrera does not turn 21 until the end of June would give him three months of time in the Midwest League to back up some of his promise with results against full-season competition. I will continue to be watching very closely.

Our 2014 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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