One of our regular offseason traditions is the Exit Interview, where we look back at each player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals in the past season. This is the 11th season we’ve done this and it’s a good way to get a view of the whole year, not just a short stretch of games. It’s sort of like a performance review before the players went off to their offseason work, spending a little time with Oli Marmol and going over what went right, what went wrong. Stats and grades are only for a player’s time in St. Louis, though splits numbers may include other teams. As always, my sincere thanks to the legend of cardinalsgifs for providing the header image!
Player: Ivan Herrera
Season stats: 11 G, 22 PA, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K, .111/.190/.111, -9 OPS+, -0.3 bWAR, -0.1 fWAR
Statcast: .164 xwOBA, 0.0 barrel %, 85.2 exit velocity, 16.7 hard hit %, 36.4 K %, 9.1 BB %
Best Statcast category: Sprint Speed (26th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Max Exit Velocity (17th percentile)
Positives: Made his major league debut May 24, but didn’t get his first at bat until June 19….both of his hits came on June 26….started six of his 11 games and played until the ninth in all of them….Cardinals won the last three games he started….hit .268 with six home runs in Memphis.
Negatives: Even with Yadier Molina out for an extended period of time, couldn’t convince the Cardinals to keep him in the majors….eventually lost his spot to Austin Romine….seemed to have questions around his preparedness.
Overview: There were a few things that didn’t make a lot of sense this year when it came to roster construction and usage and Herrera was one of them. Not getting a shot during Molina’s short bereavement trip in May was one thing, given how short it was, though even then you’d think he’d get to start a game or at least get an at bat. When Molina went down for most of the summer, though, Herrera got only about two weeks to prove himself, two weeks that saw him splitting time with Andrew Knizner. While neither of them was just lighting the world on fire, the idea that you’d rather have Romine taking those at bats is pretty laughable. I’m sure that it had more to do with the work behind the plate, especially as the pitching staff was struggling, and there’s an argument that it makes sense for Herrera’s development to be playing every day in Memphis, but it still seemed like a wasted opportunity to really know what you had from those guys, especially since that’s a decision that will be huge for this offseason with Molina’s retirement.
Outlook: There’s a lot of talk about the Cardinals going out and getting a catcher, which would likely mean either Herrera is a trade chip or that he has a shot at the backup job next year with Knizner moved out of town. Whatever the case, the way he was used in 2022 seems to indicate the internal optimism for what he can provide may not match the external prospect reports, so it seems unlikely we’ll see a whole lot of Herrera next year either.