Prospect Herrera picks up two hits in Futures Game
Switch-hitting infielder heating up at Double-A after missing month with wrist issues
MINNEAPOLIS -- Rockies switch-hitting infield prospect Rosell Herrera is speeding up in a season of playing catch-up.
Herrera, playing at Class A Advanced Modesto, missed all of May because of right wrist tendinitis, but has been dealing with the problem in both wrists since last season. But in his last eight games, Herrera hit .296 (8-fo4-27) with two doubles, and felt he was in a good place going into Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Target Field.
"I feel a lot better now," Herrera said Sunday, before coming off the bench to contribute two hits. "When I went to rehab in Scottsdale, I worked a lot every day, working with the trainers and a lot of exercise. I feel a lot better now."
Herrera got a solid single in the top of the seventh inning off D-backs righty prospect Braden Shipley to complete a seven-pitch at-bat, and he got another single in the ninth.
Overall, Herrera is hitting .265 with a .321 on-base percentage, three home runs, nine doubles and 19 RBIs in 50 games for Modesto. Last year, he was the South Atlantic League's Most Valuable Player and led the league with a .343 batting average, and went 5-for-14 (.357) with a triple in 11 Cactus League appearances for the Rockies. But the wrist issues during this regular season left him in catch-up mode.
Rockies player development director Jeff Bridich noted that the wrist problems could turn out to be positives if he addresses the reason for their occurrence.
Herrera, 21, is listed at 6-3 and a wiry 190 pounds. He is noticeably more muscular in the forearms than in the spring, but overall strength remains a goal rather than an attribute.
"I don't know whether there really is going to be more body mass and weight, but there are going to have to be strength gains," Bridich said. "His wrist problems tell us that his body, forearms and hands need to be stronger. He's working on that now. It will be addressed. The baseball season tells you what you need to do, whether you play 140 games or 162 games."
Herrera is hitting .305 with all of his extra-base hits in 141 at-bats from the left, but .164 from the right, even though the right wrist -- his trouble spot this year -- is the key bottom wrist when batting lefty.
While he is still developing physically, Herrera has made strides in terms of maturity. He was starting to have wrist soreness at about midseason last year, but didn't reveal that fact to the Rockies until after the year had ended. This year, he spoke up at the end of Spring Training. Addressing the issue cost him time and disturbed his timing, but it might be best for his development.
"I'll keep working my wrists, but right now I'm very healthy," said Herrera, who wears heavy tape on both of his wrists for support. "When I felt it last year, I kept swinging. I was hitting real well, so I didn't want to talk to the trainer. But I learned. It's better to speak up."
Herrera has played third base and shortstop this season. The Rockies played him in center field last year during fall instructional ball and he spends pregame time working in center field, but so far he is being used exclusively on the left side of the infield.