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A Year After High School, Eastern’s Jack Herman Competing Favorably in Minor League Baseball

A Year After High School, Eastern’s Jack Herman Competing Favorably in Minor League Baseball
A year ago Jack Herman was starring for Eastern’s baseball team, leading the Vikings to the Joe Hartmann Diamond Classic title that includes 16 of the top teams in South Jersey.
 
Herman batted .556 with five home runs and 41 RBI and was 2-0 on the mound with two saves and a 0.76 ERA.
 
Since then, he has been a professional baseball player and more than holding his own in the early stages of his career.
 
Herman was a 30th round draft choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates last year. He signed with the Pirates and was assigned to their Gulf Coast League rookie team, where he played in the outfield.
 
After a strong season, he began this year in extended spring training. Recently Herman was assigned to the Pirates low single-A team, the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
 
In his first 20 at-bats he was hitting .250 (5 for 20) with one home run and six RBI.
 
As a 30th round draft choice, a player usually isn’t given much chance to fail. That’s because a team has to make room for its higher drafted players who sign much more expensive bonuses.
 
So Herman got off to a quick start last year, batting .329 for the Gulf Coast Pirates, with three home runs and 28 RBI in 161 at-bats for the short-season team.
 
Herman surprised observers with his quick start, including himself.
 
“I was not expecting thing to go that well last year,” he said after a weekend game at Lakewood, the Phillies single-A team in the South Atlantic League. “I knew I had the talent to play, but I shocked myself coming out of high school.”
 
So Herman, who turns 20 in September, entered this season with added confidence.
 
He began the year in extended spring training and said it wasn’t a surprise.
 
“The Pirates had indicated to me that I would be starting this year in extended spring training,” he said. “It was ok, I had things to work on, but I am happy to be with a full-season team.”
 
It didn’t take Herman long to realize the pitching in low single-A is much different than he saw in the rookie league or extended spring training.
 
“It’s a big difference because in the GCL if you were 2-0 in the count you knew a fastball was coming because everybody throws hard and believes in their fastball,” Herman said. “Here, 2-0, 3-1 you will get a slider, then another slider and another slider. It is tough to get a pitch to hit and you really can’t miss the fastballs.”
 
Herman has been playing in an outfield rotation of four players sharing the three spots. He enjoyed coming back near home. Lakewood is by far the closet place to home.
 
“It was great to be near home and see so many family members and friends,” he said.
 
Herman has also followed his former team Eastern, which won the South Jersey Group 4 final before losing a 2-1 decision to favored Ridgewood in the state Group 4 final.
 
“We had lost a lot of players to graduation and Eastern wasn’t expected to do much so it has been awesome to see what they have accomplished,” he said.
 

 

As much as he enjoys following his old team, Herman is intent on grinding it out in the minors and continuing toward his eventual goal of reaching the big league.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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