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Chris Herrmann Could Become Ryan Doumit's Successor as Backup Catcher

It Looks Like the Minnesota Twins Got a Steal When They Drafted Herrmann in the Sixth Round in 2009

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Remember when Eduardo Escobar was batting .500 at the beginning of the season? Well, Chris Herrmann is doing that right now.

Escobar came over with pitcher Pedro Hernandez in the Francisco Liriano trade with the Chicago White Sox last season. He started the season on fire at the plate while playing just about every position in the field, but he eventually cooled off.

Escobar hit .378/.395/.541 in April, but only .095/.170/.190 in May. He has since found a happy medium and remains a reliable bat late in the lineup and, well, nobody thought he could keep up those crazy numbers all season long anyways.

Herrmann is a catcher and outfielder from Tomball, Texas, whom was selected in the sixth round of the 2009 draft out of the University of Miami and had only 19 plate appearances last season. He got called up in late-May and has been on fire in June, hitting .500/.583/.900, and he knocked his first home run of the season against the Seattle Mariners on June 2. Mind you, he only has had 16 plate appearances this year and will not keep up these numbers but he is also strong in the field, where he is able to track down fly balls and catch the wildest of pitchers -- including Sam Deduno.

"I was concerned about Herm during spring training that one day over in Clearwater when he caught (Kyle) Gibson and Gibby was all over the place and it kind of beat him up a little bit," manager Ron Gardenhire told Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "So we had concerns when you see stuff like that. His confidence was way down."

Since his call-up, Hermann has been just fine.

"He handled that fantastic," Gardenhire continued, referring to Deduno. "And he went out there today and he's handled everything we've thrown at him. He looks really nice. Watching what he did with Deduno, I'm comfortable with him. I don't have any worries about sticking him behind the plate or putting him in left field."

Herrmann's development is vital for the Twins going forward. Joe Mauer is still the starting catcher but will spend time this season as DH and at first base in order to take the pressure off of his knees, and backup Ryan Doumit's contract is up after 2015.

If Herrmann becomes a surefire major-league player, even if he splits time between the outfield and behind the plate, it will allow Minnesota to swap Doumit knowing that it has somebody to relieve Mauer throughout the season.

There is no way Herrmann keeps up his superhuman numbers, although everyone is hoping he does not experience the drop off Escobar had. As long as he finds a spot in the lineup and takes care of business on the field, it looks like the Twins got a steal when they drafted him back in 2009.

Tom Schreier covers Minnesota sports for Bleacher Report. He has been credentialed to Twins games for the past three seasons and is a lifetime fan of the team. Email at tschreier3@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @tschreier3.

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