By STEVE KRAH
Just a few years ago, he was throwing touchdown passes in the fall.
This year, he’s going to college classes and looking back on his first professional baseball season.
Herrin was a three-sport athlete at South Vigo, earning four letters in baseball, three in football and two in basketball.
A left-handed pitcher, Herrin helped the Braves win the 2013 Metropolitan Interscholastic Conference baseball championship.
In the midst of Herrin’s prep career, there was a change from the MIC to Conference Indiana. He was an all-CI and all-Wabash Valley selection as a senior as he went 6-2 with one save and a 2.33 ERA. He fanned 50 batters in 42 innings while playing for head coach Kyle Kraemer.
A first-team all-stater and Indiana High School Baseball Coaches Association All-Star for South Vigo in 1986, Kraemer went on to play at Purdue. He was the Boilermakers team captain and home run leader (10) as a senior.
After graduation, he began passing along his knowledge as a coach.
“It was good to have a high school coach who had an idea of what it took to make it to the next level,” says Herrin of Kraemer. “He prepared us for that.”
Herrin was attracted to Indiana University by former Hoosiers head coach Chris Lemonis (now head coach at Mississippi State) and worked closely with former IU pitching coach Kyle Bunn (now associate head coach and pitching coach at Middle Tennessee State).
The southpaw appreciated that Lemonis was a straight shooter during the recruiting process.
“He was straight up,” says Herrin of Lemonis. “Other coaches tell you what you want to hear.
“He did a good job of telling it how it is. You saw how genuine of a guy he is. I wanted to come play for him. I knew I could trust him.”
Herrin credits Bunn for molding him as a moundsman.
(Bunn) helped me focus on what makes somebody a pitcher,” says Herrin. “I was really raw coming into school. I had never focused on one specific sport. Until the end of my junior year, I did not think about playing college baseball. I was not recruited.
“I became a more mature pitcher faster (with Bunn). It was how he would explain things.”
In three seasons in Cream and Crimson (2016-18), Herrin made 41 mound appearances (23 as a starter) with a combined 3.44 earned run average. In 120 innings, he struck out 80 and walked 46.
Herrin, a 6-foot-5, 225-pounder, was selected in the 29th round of the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Cleveland Indians.
Assigned to the Arizona League Indians 1 team (college signees), the lefty got into 13 games (all in relief) with the rookie-level Arizona League Indians 1 squad and went 0-1 with a 6.16 ERA. In 19 innings, he struck out 22 and walked eight. His manager was Larry Day. His pitching coach was Joel Mangrum.
Herrin throws a fastball (mostly two-seamers with a few four-seamers mixed in), slider and “circle” change-up. During the summer, he touched 95 mph a few times and sat at 90 to 92 with his heater.
During the college season, he lowered his three-quarter overhand arm angle.
“The ball comes out easier,” says Herrin of the adjustment.
He might have gone to fall instructional camp or a developmental camp in November, but Herrin is back at IU taking classes toward his sports management and marketing degree. After this term, he will be just six major credits and an internship from completion.
Herrin does plan to attend a month of camp in Goodyear, Ariz., in January. He will come back to Terre Haute for a few weeks then return for spring training.
Born in Munster, Ind., Herrin moved to Terre Haute as a toddler. His parents — Tim and Cathy — met as students at Indiana State University. His mother is a family consumer science teacher at West Vigo High School in West Terre Haute.
Timmy has three younger brothers. Carter Herrin is a freshman football player at Indiana State. Trey Herrin is a freshman footballer at South Vigo. Christopher Herrin is a sixth grader who plays football, basketball and baseball.
Travis Herrin, a Lebanon (Ind.) High School graduate who is now a pitcher in the Los Angeles Angels organization, is no relation.
The Cal Ripken Baseball-aligned Riley Recreation League in Terre Haute is where Timmy played his first organized baseball. He began playing for travel teams around 11. In high school, he was part of the Wayne Newton American Legion Post 346 program.
Timmy Herrin, a Terre Haute (Ind.) South Vigo High School graduate, played for three seasons with Indiana University before going into pro baseball. (Indiana University Photo)
Timmy Herrin, a 2015 Terre Haute (Ind.) South Vigo High School graduate who pitched three seasons at Indiana University, gets set to throw a pitch during the 2018 season for the Arizona League Indians. Herrin was selected in the 2018 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft by the Cleveland Indians. (Arizona League Indians Photo)