The team's closer, Eduard Estalis, our 2008 Scout.com DSL Reliever of the Year, failed to close out games on a constant basis so the team looked to some of their starters who had trouble in the opening role. Keury Herrera and Michael Santana were the two pitchers who were given the chance to close out multiple games and earn a save or more.
2009 DSL Cardinals Bullpen (listed in order of in innings worked by month)
The DSL Reliever of the Year award came down to starter-turned reliever Herrera and 2009 DSL All-Star Tapia.
Herrera struggled when starting games but when coming in late and pitching an extensive amount of innings, he was almost lights out and his pitches seem to hit the spots unlike as a starter. Herrera's walks dropped off and his strikeouts (per nine) rose along with opponents only hitting .214 against him as a reliever and .279 as a starter.
Tapia began the season as a reliever and was moved into a starting role mid-season, which did not work out. Tapia didn't quite touch Herrera when it came to strikeouts and their walks were almost even. Tapia's opponents batted .133 when he was relieving.
Congratulations to Keury Herrera who just barely edged out Angel Tapia for the 2009 Scout.com DSL Cardinals Reliever of the Year award.
Herrera made 16 appearances (eight starts) posting a 2-2 record, 3.34 ERA, one hold, and three saves. He allowed 52 hits, 23 runs (21 earned), three home runs, hit one batter, walked 32, threw 11 wild pitches, committed two errors, struck out 61, and picked off three runners over 56.2 innings. Herrera had a ground out-to-fly out ratio of 37-to-53, kept all four inherited runners on base, and had a 1.48 WHIP.
The Cardinals' February 3, 2008 signing alternated through the entire season between starting and relieving and looked to fit best into a long reliever role. He didn't give up a run in six games and struck out four or more in ten appearances. Herrera pitched four or more innings in eight outings. As a starter, he pitched 33.1 innings allowing 34 hits, 28 earned runs, two home runs, 20 walks, and struck out 31.
The 18-year old left-hander made his best appearance (start) on June 30 pitching five scoreless innings and giving up three hits, four walks, one wild pitch, one error, and striking out a season-high six for a winning decision. His worst outing (start) came on June 20 when he coughed up eight hits, five earned runs, four walks, and struck out five over six innings for the loss.
As I said last season, Herrera will be a guy to watch as the next season rolls around. He struggles a little with control but when he's on, he can strike 'em out. Herrera may not fit fully in the future rotation plans but could be a solid innings eater when needed. I look for him to return for a third season in the DSL.
Notes: Like the details on Herrera above, you can read individual capsules on each of the club's nine relievers in our recent series recapping the 2009 DSL Cardinals season.
Link to our entire series of Scout.com Cardinals Players of the Year representing the top relievers, starters and position players across the entire system.
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