Profile: The Brewers announced on Thursday that first baseman Lyle Overbay had been placed on the paternity list and Elian Herrera would be promoted in the interim to take his place on Milwaukee’s 25-man roster.
Herrera was originally signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, out of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, as a free agent in 2003. He came to the states in 2006, playing for LA’s affiliate in the Gulf Coast League.
From there, Herrera would spend the next six seasons shuffling between the Dodgers affiliates from Rookie League to Triple-A. His best season came in 2012 where he hit .341 with 20 doubles, 10 triples and 3 home runs in 64 games for Triple-A Albuquerque.
That performance earned Herrera his first promotion to the big leagues, and he made his Major League debut with Los Angeles on May 15th, 2012. The switch-hitting Herrera played in 67 games for the Dodgers that season, batting .251 with 26 runs scored and 17 runs batted in. In those 67 games, Herrera saw action at second base, shortstop, third base, and all three outfield spots.
Herrera returned to Los Angeles for a brief cup of coffee in 2013, playing in four games and going 2-for-8 in limited playing time. He was signed off waivers by Milwaukee this past November and hit .240 with a home run and eight runs batted in this spring before being optioned to Triple-A Nashville. In 12 games with the Sounds, Herrera was batting .250 with three doubles and two triples at the time of his promotion.
Strengths: Herrera’s greatest strength is his versatility. He has played every position except for catcher in his minor league career, even making one appearance on the mound in 2010. The bulk of his playing time has been split between second base and the outfield, but he can also fill in at shortstop or third base as well. Herrera also has above average speed, swiping a career high 43 bases in 2009.
Weaknesses: The 29-year-old Herrera doesn’t hit for much power. His career high home run total of seven came in 2013 at Albuquerque and he’s hit just 26 long balls throughout his career. He can also get a bit over-aggressive at the plate sometimes as evidenced by the fact that he has almost twice as many strikeouts as walks throughout his playing career.
Future: Herrera’s time in Milwaukee will probably be brief as he will likely return to Nashville once Overbay re-joins the team after his three day leave, but with an open spot for a few days, Herrera will be able to fill in at a variety of spots if needed. His versatility and ability to hit from both sides of the plate would make for a valuable option off the Brewers bench down the road if a spot were to open up, and he could see more opportunities down the road as the season progresses.