After debuting with the Cincinnati Reds in 2019 and spending two seasons with the Texas Rangers (2020-2021), Jimmy Herget was picked up by the Angels on a minor league contract on August 16 after declining an assignment from Triple-A Round Rock. Prior to putting on the Halo uniform, the Tampa, FL native pitched in four games with the Rangers going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA. Two of his four appearances actually came against the Angels (August 2 & 4) at Globe Life Field, striking out two and shutting out the Halo offense across three innings.
Herget made a splash in his debut with the Angels, picking up the win in relief against the New York Yankees, shutting down their powerful lineup for 1.2 innings. His dynamic performance and utilization of the strike zone continued through his first 10 appearances (Aug 31 - Sept 22) as the right-hander went 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 11.2 innings pitched.
During the final week-in-a-half of the season, Herget suffered a snag in his positive pitching ways. The Seattle Mariners tagged the righty for two runs on September 24, leading to a 6-5 Mariners win and first loss for Herget as an Angel. His next two outings, against his former team (Rangers), did not go as planned as well as he yielded three earned runs on four hits in 2.1 innings. The toughest of the two outings came on September 30 as the Angels brought a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but the lead quickly erased itself thanks in part to a two-run double by Brock Holt that proved to be the difference maker in a 7-6 Rangers victory.
Luckily, Herget took advantage of one last opportunity to carry a good pitching performance into the offseason. In his final relief appearance on October 2 against Seattle, the 28-year-old tossed 0.1 scoreless innings, escaping a two-on, two out jam by striking out Luis Torrens.
14 Games / 2-2 Record / 4.30 ERA / 14.2 Innings Pitched / 18 Strikeouts / 4 Walks / 1.30 WHIP / .283 Opp Avg. / 15 Hits Allowed / 7 Runs Allowed / 0 Home Runs Allowed
*14 Games w/ LAA (Aug. 31 - End of Season)
Coming out of the bullpen, Herget is a five-pitch pitcher that can spray the ball across the strike zone with vertical and horizontal movement. His Curveball (25.1%), 4-Seam Fastball (24.7%), Sinker (24.7%), and Slider (23.1%) are evenly used with a Changeup filtered in just 2.3% of the time. As his velocity sits between 73-92 MPH, his best pitch based on tracking data is his Curveball. Opposing batters hit for a sub-two average (.190), a .333 Slugging Percentage and an exceptionally high Whiff rate of 51.4%. Even though his velocity does not light up the radar gun, Herget has the ability to blow a fastball by any batter especially as he feeds them a steady diet of offspeed pitches. Amongst qualified pitchers, Herget’s horizontal movement of his 4-Seam Fastball (16.6 in) would rank third in Major League Baseball behind Joe Smith (16.7) and Tim Hill (18.9). Herget worked best against left-handed batters in 2021, working a .211 average with only four hits and eight strikeouts.
Angels 2 vs. Padres 0 - 9/8/2021— Ozzy_Days (@Jiji_Days) September 8, 2021
Jimmy Hergetさん7回 pic.twitter.com/iw2oPCHBNi
BEST PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR
You only get one chance at making a first impression and Herget did not let his opportunity go to waste in front of the home fans at Angel Stadium. The right-hander was thrown right into the fire in his first appearance with the Angels on August 31 against the New York Yankees. While trying to preserve a 3-2 lead in the fifth inning, Herget relieved starter Jaime Barria and began his outing with a runner at second and the top of the Yankees order due up. Herget found a way to escape the jam by inducing DJ LeMahieu to ground out to second baseman David Fletcher, followed by a five-pitch strikeout of Anthony Rizzo. With the momentum staying on the Halos side, the team responded with a three-run fifth, extending the lead to 6-2.
Herget returned to the hill in the sixth to face the meat of the Bronx Bombers lineup and found it easy to sit them down quietly. After a leadoff single by Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton grounded into a 6-4-3 double play and Joey Gallo capped off the inning by striking out looking. This outing kept the bullpen on the right track all night long and the Angels delivered a 6-4 victory over the Yankees, winning the three-game series.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2022
As Herget replenished a taxed bullpen near the end of the season, look for the right-hander to be included in the relief options in 2022. His contract is under team control for two seasons, followed by three arbitration years, then he finally reaches free agency in 2027. With Raisel Iglesias and Aaron Loup covering the back end of the bullpen, it is safe to say that the seventh inning and/or middle relief slot is available to win come spring training time for Herget. He already has a proven track record in the Angels organization and his skillset shows he can handle a major league assignment. For higher level situations he will probably battle with Mike Mayers and Austin Warren, but healthy competition never hurts especially when pitching will be the key for the Angels in 2022.