Herrera gets the spotlight put on him this week after anchoring the first no-hitter of the young Eastern League season, tossing eight dominant innings in a 4-0 win over the New Hampshire Fisher Cats April 26 in Trenton (with Jonathan Holder closing it out for the Thunder). Originally signed by the Oakland A’s as a non-drafted free agent in December 2011, Herrera is a small-statured right-handed starter, but he has a compact delivery that he has no trouble repeating. His strengths come from his ability to repeat his delivery and arm slot with all of his pitches, and from his ability to attack hitters. Throughout his 8 IP, he was mixing and matching his 89-to-93 mph fastball, featuring sinking action that will generate ground balls at a high rate. He mixed in an average 82-to-85 mph changeup that featured armside fade, and consistently fooled hitters since it looks identical to his fastball.
Herrera featured two breaking balls all night; one being a potentially-average slider at 82-to-84 mph that showed small late break with some tilt. The other was a change-of-pace curveball at 74-to-76 mph, that he used to keep hitters honest later in the game. Overall, Herrera is confident in his stuff, and in his ability to pitch. Despite not having a pitch that would grade above average, he dominated this game. For the season, he is 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA, striking out 28 and walking just seven over his first 26 IP for the Thunder. – C.J.. Wittmann