The third name to consider is young Ivan Herrera. Herrera, 21, has spent the year at AA Springfield after putting himself on the map in 2019 at A-ball and the Arizona Fall League. The team’s third-best prospect before the 2021 draftees were added hasn’t had a great year at AA if you were to only consider the box scores. His .224 average and .741 OPS is scaring some who haven’t been watching the extremely professional at-bats that he’s been taking.
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Such is the case with the minor leagues, if you aren’t watching or listening to someone who is watching, you don’t know the whole story. Herrera is a very difficult out and has shown more and more pop as the season has gone on. Even if he’s too selective sometimes, his .346 OBP speaks for itself and he’s doing it all at a league where he’s three years younger than his competitors.
Herrera also has the first open blessing of Yadier Molina. For a long time, Molina has been unwilling to let anyone else behind the dish but him. However, Molina was Herrera’s childhood idol and this article from MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez from November of 2020 details just how much Yadi and Herrera have worked together.
By sticking around for another year, Molina can officially hand off the torch to young Herrera late in the 2022 season or beyond. It’s too far of me to say that this has been Yadi’s plan all along, but it sure looks like it’s going to play out that way.
Coming back in 2022 will hopefully give Molina a better chance to compete on what should be a better team than 2021, but his career and what will be a 19-year arc is close to an end.