Sunday, March 14, 2010

Prospect #21 B.J. Hermsen

Starting RHP
Drafted: 2008 6th Round, Manchester, Iowa
Levels Played in 2009: Rookie GCL Twins
Opening Day Age: 20

The Twins organization is beyond known for coveting strike throwing machines over power arm projects. B.J. Hermsen falls right in line with the type of pitcher the Twins love. What makes Hermsen unique is his physical stature and surprising athletic ability. Hermsen stands at 6 foot 6 and weighs over 230 pounds. The big right hander passed on a full scholarship to play quarterback for Oregon State to pursue a career in major league baseball. A $650,000 signing bonus had a little to do with that.

Hermsen was sent to GCL Twins in 2009 where he showed that he was more of a pitcher then a thrower. Hermsen's ability to repeat a smooth and easy delivery at his size makes the Twins very excited about his projection. After staying back in extended spring training, Hermsen through 53 innings for the GCL Twins and dominated. He was 6-2 with a 1.35 ERA and a 42 to 4 K/BB ratio.

Those numbers and that size can speak volumes but their are some question marks. When you hear a 6 foot 6 pitcher dominating the way he does, you would assume that he is a Roy Halladay type power pitcher. However that is not the case with Hermsen. He usually has a fastball in the range of 87-89 consistently and topping out 90-91. When pitching he is more focused on pounding the bottom of the strike zone and working quickly to get outs as fast as possible. Which is a great thing to know for a young pitcher. He also has a slider and a change up but uses then to induce early contact rather then getting swings and misses.

BJ Hermsen definitely has a bright future. I expect him to put an extra 2 or 3 MPH on his fastball as he gets more and more comfortable with his delivery over the years and should be a true innings eater. The is a question whether he will return to extended spring training and then off to Elizabethtown or put right in full season ball. His body is definitely ready for lots of innings now, but the Twins are known for moving their high school pitchers along rather slowly. I expect him to be held back a little in camp and then off to Beloit similar to what they did with Tyler Robertson. He will probably have a total inning count around 100.

ETA: 2013
Projection: Number 3 of 4 type starter who gets quick outs and goes deep into games.
MLB Comparison: Brad Penny, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey

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