Exclusive: David Herz’s Baseball Journeyby Jamie Gatlin July 11, 2021 0 comments
In 2019, the Chicago Cubs selected David Herz with the 252nd pick in the MLB draft. While the Fayetteville native was drafted in the eighth round, he has climbed up the Cubs prospect list. The twenty-year-old pitcher is currently the Cubs’ 28th-best prospect and is determined to make an impact in the majors. As rumors swirl that a rebuild could be on the horizon in Chicago, Herz is one name that might be part of their future.
Although Herz was drafted two years ago, it is still a process he will never forget. “It was a pretty hectic time. I got invited to the Cubs, Marlins, Phillies, and Braves workouts,” said Herz. “It was the first time that I had been at a major league ballpark. I had no idea it would be the Cubs, but when they picked me, it was an awesome moment.”
After finishing his high school career, Herz appeared in six games in the Arizona rookie league and posted a 2.61 ERA. Herz only pitched 10.1 innings, but held opponents to a .238 average. After a solid debut, Herz (like many minor-leaguers) had a year off. The 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While it was a year full of uncertainty, he made the best of it.
DJ Herz continues to dominate, striking out 8 in 5 innings 🔥
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) July 1, 2021
“It was a blessing in disguise for me,” said Herz. “It gave me time to get stronger and work on my off-speed stuff. I was throwing the changeup every day during the pandemic and building up my strength. The strength part and putting on weight is harder during the season. It allowed me to build up my body and catch up to the college guys.”
Herz has been solid in 2021
In his second pro season, Herz’s work is paying off. In ten starts this year, he has posted a 3.89 ERA and struck out 57 batters. The former eighth-round has held batters to a .153 average and been a steady presence in the Pelicans’ rotation.
Although Herz has posted an ERA close to four this season, that does not represent how well he has pitched. The Pelicans lefty has only given up more than three runs in a start once this season, when he allowed nine runs on June 10. Since that game, Herz has pitched 15 innings and allowed a total of just five runs. His strikeout totals have been on the rise during that span, and he has pitched deeper into games. In the second half, Herz will be looking to build on his recent success.
“My goals for the rest of the season are to get my ERA back under three,” he said. “Becoming more comfortable with my off-speed pitches will be key. I know at this level, not a lot of guys are going to beat me, so if I can limit the walks, I’ll be fine.”
Although Herz is not projected to make his major league debut until 2023, he brings a mentality that Cubs fans will appreciate.
“No matter what it is, I hate to lose,” said Herz. “I love to compete and have a bulldog mentality. I play with a lot of heart, and that’s just who I am.”
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Main Image Credit: Stephanie Lynn @SRL590