Elian Herrera hit .305 with a .407 on-base percentage in his first 31 games. (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)
ELIAN HERRERA, 27, infielder/outfiedler
Final 2012 stats: .251, 26 runs, 17 RBIs, 10 doubles with .340 on-base and .332 slugging percentages in 187 at-bats.
Contract status: Under team control.
The good: In his first 31 games with the Dodgers, he hit .305 with a .407 on-base percentage and .390 slugging percentage. Hit .321 at Dodger Stadium. Highly versatile, he played all three outfield positions, third, second and even one game at shortstop, while hitting in six different spots in the lineup. Switch-hitter. Committed three errors in 127 chances.
The bad: After his surprising start, he hit .141/.179/.234 in his next 20 games and was sent back to the minors. Hit .202 on the road and .173 leading off an inning.
What’s next: Has outside shot of making team as a super utility guy, but appears headed back to the minors.
The take: When he was good, he was surprisingly good, stunningly good. But when he was bad, he was everything you would expect of a career minor leaguer.
Herrera was originally called up May 14 when Juan Uribe went down with a sore wrist. He was mostly viewed as an emergency backup, but got some playing time and made the absolute most of it. Suddenly, he was finding a way to contribute almost every game.
For a guy who had spent the past 10 years in the minors, it seemed too good to be true. Alas, it was. Pitchers caught up, or he simply settled back to reality, but when the air went out, it went out in a hurry and he was soon back at Albuquerque. He came back with the September call-ups, but played little.
The Dodgers have seen what he can do, and if could recapture it, they’d find a place for him. But right now, the roster looks a little too crowded for him in 2013.
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