NEW BRITAIN, CT - When the
Eastern League All-Stars take to
the field for the 2012 Baseballtown All-Star Classic at FirstEnergy
Reading on Wednesday, New Britain pitcher B.J. Hermsen will be among
on the Eastern Division roster. Not too bad for someone who began the
"It's a good honor, that's for sure," said
Initially, Hermsen didn't even know he had
made the All-Star
team until his dad told him on the phone.
"I called my parents and he said,
'Congratulations on making
the all-star team,'" said Hermsen. "Then the next day when we got (to
stadium) we found out. It definitely felt good."
It's an honor that is most certainly
deserved by the
22-year-old right hander. Since joining the Rock Cats at the end of
Iowa native has cemented his place as one of the most reliable and
starters in the rotation.
Hermsen started this season with Ft.
Myers. It took just
four starts to show the Minnesota Twins he was ready for the next
Hermsen simply dominated the Florida State League competition, going
1-0 with a
0.78 ERA in four starts. He struck out 12 and walked five while
batters to a .190 average and 16 hits in 23 innings.
He hasn't skipped a beat since his arrival
in New Britain. Although
the numbers aren't as gaudy, Hermsen has managed to become one of the
the Rock Cats' staff in his first crack at Double-A. In 12 starts, he
posted a 5-4 record with a 3.27 ERA to go along with a 39K/11BB ratio
The quite humble Hermsen tends to deflect
his success onto
his teammates, particularly his battery mates.
"It's definitely been easier on me having
guys like Danny
Lehmann and Chris Herrmann and I had Dan Rohlfing in Ft. Myers (who has
the Rock Cats) as a catcher," Hermsen explained. "It's been an easy
with guys like that. They know most of the hitters up here. I just go
throw my game and they put down the pitches and I just throw them."
Perhaps the 6'5," 235-pound Hermsen makes
it sound much
easier than it is, but, after all, success is nothing new for the
During his career at West Delaware High
School in Iowa, Hermsen
played baseball, football, track and basketball. He earned all-state
three sports - all except track - but it was on the baseball diamond
shined the brightest. He proved to be an all-around athlete when he not
dominated on the mound but also slammed an Iowa state best 57 home runs
high school career. It was his arm that earned the most recognition
scouts, though, including stringing together a senior season that
perfect 10-0 record, 0.63 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 66.2 innings.
Hermsen had signed with Oregon State
University - a program
he had his heart set on attending - but his plans changed when the
him in the sixth round of the 2008 Draft.
Despite being projected to go higher
in the draft, the Twins still made an offer that Hermsen found hard to
"It was more of a family decision than an
decision. I talked to my parents and the offer I received was too much
so that was
the main factor," he explained.
In the end Hermsen realized things have
turned out just
"I have no regrets. Obviously, I was
pretty set on going to
college and I decided to sign with the Twins," he said. "From what I've
things have worked out well."
This season, it is the Rock Cats who have
beneficiaries of that decision. While the Rock Cats have struggled at
the plate this season, it is the pitching staff that has been amongst
in the league. Hermsen - who is currently seventh in ERA in the E.L. -
pitching cohorts currently rank 4th in the
league in team ERA. With
the Rock Cats among the top of the division all season and tied for
place, Hermsen and company have proved that pitching wins ball games.
The fact that Hermsen has been so reliable
may have resulted
in a slight panic after his second to last start on June 27. Trenton
Hermsen for six runs on six hits in just two innings. That day, Hermsen
the showers early. The next day, he showed resilience via Twitter.
"When I was younger my mom always told me
the sun would come
up the next day after a tough game," he tweeted, "sure enough it's 70 n
Sure enough, his next start was much
brighter. Any cause for
concern was quickly put to rest when he took the mound against the same
and fired seven brilliant innings. The Thunder only managed one run -
unearned - and five hits against Hermsen that day.
Even as he increases his star
potential, Hermsen continues
to find ways to improve his game. He had previously boasted an
pitching repertoire consisting of a two-seam fastball, four-seam
changeup, and curve ball. This season, he has added a cutter to the
Rasmussen), (the Twins' minor league) pitching
coordinator, when I was
in the instructional league last year, mentioned it," Hermsen
explained. "I had
kind of been messing around with it the previous off-season. I worked
on it a
little bit more this off-season and I'm excited to use it."
In addition to a new pitch on his resume,
Hermsen is also
trying to rediscover speed to his pitches. A pitcher who showcases
control, he admits to having lost some velocity since high school. Back
school, he could hit the low 90's. He has only lost a few miles an hour
fastball, but in professional baseball that is a big deal. Thing is, he
idea why his pitches now register in the high 80's on the speed gun.
tell you. I don't know if it's the longer season or throwing more or
He went on to point out that some Major
Leaguers can touch
95 miles per hour but still get hit around.
"You have to be able to control it," said
I would still like to add some velo but if it doesn't work out I can
that has worked out just fine so far.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.