With the Pittsburgh Pirates’ top 30 prospects being released last week, we will take a look at a newcomer in Jack Herman
The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted outfielder Jack Herman in the 30th round of the 2018 MLB Draft. Herman was selected out of Eastern High School in New Jersey. During the draft process, Herman was ranked the 9th best prospect in the state of New Jersey with loads of potential in the raw power department. His arm was noted as extremely strong, and it shows with a 60 rating.
During his 37 games with short-season Bristol in 2018, Herman played well above his 30th round selection. His slash line was .340/.435/.489 while showing patience at the plate with only a 14.2% strikeout rate. His advanced analytics showed extreme promise with a .432 wOBA and a 161 wRC+ while showing an above-average ISO of .149. He even got selected to the GCL All-Star team
Herman’s splits in 2018 were impressive as well. Against right-handed pitchers his OPS was .836, and against left-handed pitchers was 1.194. His time in Bristol was just a snippet only with 169 plate appearances, but, nonetheless, he showed that he belonged.
In 2019 Herman was promoted to full-season ball with the Low-A Greensboro Grasshoppers, where he made significant strides in certain areas. Due to an injury, Herman started late in Greensboro, where he showcased his off-season work out regimen dedicated to getting stronger. In 75 games, his extra base hits went up to 27, with 13 of them being home runs, which showed in his ISO number of .208.
Herman’s slash line did dip a bit to .257/.340/.464, along with his advanced numbers with .367 wOBA and 134 wRC+. However, these numbers are still terrific.
One thing we see with young power hitters is their tendency to be a bit impatient, and this is true with Herman with his strikeout rate increasing to 29.3%. Herman split time between right and left field and showcased his arm with 11 outfield assists and only four errors.
One promising sign with Herman was his situational hitting, more specifically with two outs and runners in scoring position. He batted in 14 runs with 12 hits and an above-average OPS of .839 in 53 plate appearances in these situations. Now, this is not flashy or legendary, but it showed he was pretty good under pressure, and for a 20-year-old, that’s all you can ask.
In 2020 look for Herman to get the call up to High-A Bradenton. The one question everyone is asking will his power numbers stay the same? We know that a hitter-friendly ballpark may have aided his 12 home runs in Greensboro, and the jump to the Florida State League has proven difficult to many a batter. If Herman can maintain his power and cut down on his strikeouts, FanGraphs may have no other choice but to move him up from 27 on the Pirates’ top 30 prospects list to somewhere higher on the list.