About That Herndon Guy…

Posted by Jonathan Nisula, Sat, October 29, 2011 12:45 PM | Comments: 14
2011 Player Review, News, Posts

The 2011 Phillies Nation Player Reviews continue today, with David Herndon

Remember this?

…And I think he just gave up another walk, followed by a home run, causing a profanity-laced meltdown in the infield. His mind is like Mr. Potato Head (or Señor Cara de Papa if you are speaking to Carlos Ruiz) when he gets into trouble, because, think about it–what happens when Mr. Potato Head loses a fight? That’s right, limbs and/or facial parts go flying into the air, much like David Herndon‘s thoughts when he loses a battle to a hitter or five.

However, he actually had a pretty good year. His 3.32 ERA was good for fourth among Phillies relievers with at least ten innings pitched, and, while it may have seemed that he was terrible all year, he actually had a higher WPA–Win Probability Added, or in other words a measure of what actually happened and how much a player helped or hurt his team–than three other pitchers with the same qualifiers. Granted, his WPA was still negative (-0.41), and those three players included one who is no longer a Phillie (J.C. Romero, -0.54), a rookie (Michael Schwimer, -0.57), and KYLE KENDRICK (-0.67).

One interesting thing about Herndon is his gaudy home run/fly ball ratio, which was 18.0% by the time the season was over. Quick, name a National League reliever (qualified) that gave up more home runs per fly ball. Trick question–the nest closest guy to Herndon was Matt Reynolds of the Rockies.

The thing about David Herndon is that he has the potential to be a very solid relief pitcher that could really help the Phils. His pitching style–sinker, sinker, sinker–could be verrry useful in a late inning situation when a double play is needed. He just hasn’t gotten to that point yet. I, however, have faith in the Herndog. If he pitches to his strengths, many Phillies fans would be singing a different tune.

GRADE: 6.0/10 and it would have been much lower if his ERA was higher. Don’t get me wrong though, as I stated before, I have faith in Herndon. But his 2011 season, while probably a little better than expected for most Phillies fans, was not what I had envisioned him being. Maybe next year.

Avatar of Jonathan Nisula

About Jonathan Nisula

Jonathan Nisula has written 272 articles on Phillies Nation.

Just a regular guy writing his thoughts for Phillies Nation. Grew up in Yardley, PA and current student.

  • Posts: 2005 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    How about inherited runners scored?
    This is the true mark of a reliever, not the stupid ERA.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I could tell from the start he was a bit of head case. The main problem with him once he gets into trouble it’s a cascade effect. He has to learn how to control that and keep focus. Next year he’ll be considered a Vet (sort off) so he’ll have to learn how to act like it. For a groundball type of guy he gives up way to many deep flyballs that can easily turn into a HR at our field.

  • Posts: 2005 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    I would hope to see him somewhere else next year. Don’t like him, its a surprise when he does well -

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    I doubt it Brooks they invested 2 years in this guy to give up on him so quick. They need cheap bullpen arms, theyll keep him around. I think he showed just enough to be kept by the Phils. Next year will be his make or break year i suspect with the Phils. Even so they can stash him away at AAA if he fails to impress next year and call him up for injury duty. He is one of them guys that does well, or gets lit up, rarely a in between with him.

  • Posts: 5449 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    My take is -you throw out the most of the stats for middle relief pitchers. Here’s the real litmus test. Ask yourself – How confident do you feel every time he comes into a game? a game you need to win?

    Would you still give him a 6.0? I wouldn’t. Maybe his stuff is so good, he eventually proves his mettle, I’m not saying there is no potential for growth. If I understand, the grade is about 2011 performance. So, how confident did I feel when he came into a game last season?
    3.0 to 4.0 at best.

    • Posts: 0 brooks

      Just a smidge above Danys Baez, a 4 is probably pretty generous.
      Absolutely right Lefty, NO CONFIDENCE.

    • Posts: 0 EricL

      I don’t get this. Why would you throw out statistics that objectively tell you how a player performs and instead just go with the “gut feeling” test?

      Where else is this advisable? Would you hire a carpenter who doesn’t actually measure his cuts and levels, he just guesstimates? A surgeon who forgoes the imaging scans because he has a gut feeling that the guy needs a cholecystectomy? Humans have LOTS of biases which prevent us from seeing the world as it truly exists; the more we’re able to eliminate those through objective measures the better.

      • Posts: 5449 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        EricL, That is a perfectly reasonable response. First let me tell you that I like your comments on this board, especially in the thread titled “On constructing a Bullpen” particularly this part-
        ” it’s not only entirely possible to to build a winning bullpen with youth, vets on the cheap and/or what you consider “worn out goods,” but the World Series was just won by a team that didn’t even have a designated closer over the last half of the season and who patched together a number of castaways, has-beens and never weres. ” Excellent and absolutely true.

        So, I’ll give you the best answer I can. In 40 years of playing, coaching and number crunching to evaluate those that play this game, I have never understood the value of statistical analysis of extreme small sample sizes, and how / why they stood up for so long, when they are so clearly flawed. I don’t believe for example, that we can measure starting pitchers in the same way as we do a reliever who might throw an inning or two a week. In other words, I don’t need Roy Halladay to set down 27 batters in a row every game, that would be ridiculous no?But I do need my best relievers to set down 3 batters in a row 80% of the times they are used. So that is why it is completely unfair to compare the standard ERA stat for a reliever. If the starter gives up 3 runs or less per 9 innings, that’s fantastic. It means he may have had two, three or four innings in a game, in which he allowed more than one baserunner, and one or more of those to cross the plate. The reliever must be held to more strict measures because for every nine innings (outings) he throws, he can’t meet the 80% if four times he allows the same thing to happen. Why in the world would we look at a reliever’s ERA and compare it to a starter’s? The measurement is no longer practical or realistic.

        So when I say “you throw out MOST of the stats for middle relief pitchers” I mean they are of no use due to sample size. I did not say not to use any, several are practical. However, I refrain from using most stats in small sample sizes. For instance, If Herndon gives up one run in one outing his ERA is 9.00, I just don’t see how that tells me anything after 5 outings. He may have been perfect in the other 4. That’s why I can do a “gut feel” as you term it, to tell me more than the stat can with middle relievers. So if he gets me out of the inning in 4 out of 5 outings, Herndon gains entrance into my circle of trust, and I don’t care if his ERA is 5.00 something. Sample size skews the fairness of and usefulness of many numbers.

      • Posts: 0 George

        The Cards won IN SPITE OF their horrible bullpen. They had the best offense in the league, and the Braves folded. The 23 blown saves should pretty much tell any intelligent analyst that their pen almost ruined the Card’s season, not won it for them.

      • Posts: 5449 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        San Francisco won in 10 because they had the magic formula of great starting pitching, three left-handed relievers, and very little hitting, so that became the model of how to win a championship. Then this year St. Louis did it with a great hitting team, little starting pitching, and a patched together bullpen, so now that’s the model. Maybe whoever loses their best starter to season ending injury in February (like Wainwright) next year is the new model for winning it all?

        So my response to you is this:
        Guess what? There is no model, no magic formula, so why spend more on any position, especially one as volatile as relief pitchers are year to year, than you really need to. They won, we lost. They are the 2011 Champions of baseball. The Cardinals had a glaring weakness, the Giants had a glaring weakness, teams ALWAYS win despite their shortcomings, that’s not news. “Intelligent analysts” wouldn’t have, and didn’t pick either one of them. But they still both won.

      • Posts: 1048 EricL

        Avatar of EricL

        Lefty, fair enough, and I generally agree that small sample size statistics are not very good as a predictive tool. I think, actually, that that’s the heart of the matter when it comes to constructing a bullpen in the way suggested in the previous article. There are very few pitchers, starters or relievers, that can consistently perform at a dominant level . Yet that’s exactly the kind of guy you want if you’re looking for a dominant closer. Without one it becomes more of a gamble but you’re essentially looking for a guy to go on a 50-inning hot streak or a young guy who may be able to grow into dominance (Kimbrel, Venters, Bastardo, etc).

        But back to Herndon, I understand why you wouldn’t fully trust the numbers of a guy who pitched fewer than 60 innings this year, and some of the advanced metrics agree with you (5.08 FIP, for instance). My complaint was just more that I don’t think a gut feeling can be a better predictor than short sample sized statistics. Essentially, neither is really good, but I’d still rather go with the empirical evidence.

  • Posts: 0 davehist

    I was surprised quite a few times (pleasantly) with Herndon’s performance this year. I was surprised, too, that he stayed with the big club after his one-year-required-Rule-5-draftee status was done with. Obviously, Dubee or Manuel or Mick Billmyer or somebody thinks he’s got potential, so I guess we all get to wait and see.

  • Posts: 0 BART SHART

    Herndon improved this year. He will improve next year as well. He will be an asset to this club.

  • Posts: 0 bacardipr05

    Who in our bullpen at the start of this season did you have confidence in. No one really except for Madson and possibly Contreras. Neither did Cholly wasnt to we was surprised with Bastardo then Stutes.

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