Herbert was one of four high schoolers the Braves selected early in the 2015 Draft. Among them was his high school teammate Kolby Allard, Atlanta’s first pick in the draft three years ago. Herbert was regarded as a glove-first catcher with a projectable bat, and he has been that type of player across 200 career games entering 2018. He looked overmatched at the plate as a 19-year-old in the South Atlantic League in 2016, though took steps forward at the plate repeating the level last year.
Built with a durable catching frame that’s muscular through his core and lower half, Herbert came into camp this spring looking more physical than when I saw him early last season. A quality defensive catcher, he sets quiet targets and is a good framer. He’s flexible in his lower-half, able to block balls well to both sides of the plate. The bat doesn’t stand out in the same way as his defensive tools, but he’s growing into occasional pullside power as he adds physical strength. His eight homers last season topped his career total before 2017, and he’s turning on mistakes with more authority.
There is still work to be done at the plate, and the bat might never be enough to merit an everyday job at the big league level. Even so, the defense and game calling will keep him around for a long time. Herbert fits the profile of a defensive-minded backup catcher at the highest level.