Former USF pitcher Jimmy Herget dazzles at MLB Futures Game
At the All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, up-and-coming baseball players from around the world strutted their stuff. Plenty of local talent was there — Plant High School graduate Kyle Tucker started in right field for Team USA, and Lakewood High School product Bo Bichette saw time at shortstop for the Americans.
Tucker and Bichette weren't the only Tampa Bay natives to play in Miami, though. Jimmy Herget, an alum of Jefferson High School and the University of South Florida, made his mark as well.
Facing two consensus top-100 prospects in Victor Robles and Rafael Devers — as well as Rays farmhand Lucius Fox — Herget was on his game. He threw nine of his 12 pitches for strikes and recorded a 1-2-3 eighth inning to help Team USA win 7-6.
The successful outing was just another game for Herget, who's been on a roll since the Reds drafted him in the sixth round two years ago. A standout starter at USF, Herget has dominated as a closer in the minors: He has a lifetime ERA of 2.29 in 125-2/3 innings and has gone 59-for-67 in save opportunities.
Herget is far from a conventional pitcher. FanGraphs' Eric Longenhagen called the side-arming right-hander "the most entertaining arm in the entire (Reds) system." With a two-seamer in the mid-90s and a slider in the low 80s, he catches righties off-guard, while his upper-80s changeup helps him put lefties down.
The Futures Game won't be Herget's biggest stage. With his dominance in the minors this season — across Double and Triple A, he has a 2.50 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 39-2/3 innings — he could see time in the majors for the Reds, whose bullpen has faltered recently.
And Herget's three-pitch arsenal could help him stick in the Show. MLB.com compares him to former Marlins closer Steve Cishek, who has a lifetime ERA of 2.85 in eight MLB seasons. Baseball America deemed him a future setup man. Kris Bryant, Andrew McCutchen and other NL Central sluggers better be on the lookout for the flame-throwing, begoggled reliever coming their way.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated Herget was drafted in the 22nd round.