Cuero grad signs with Nationals


June 14, 2010 at 1:14 a.m.
Updated June 15, 2010 at 1:15 a.m.

Mark Herrera's fastball topped out at 84 mph when he transferred from Memorial to Cuero before his junior year.

By the time he graduated, Herrera got his fastball up to 92 mph, and it was clocked as high as 97 mph at the recent Junior College World Series.

Herrera's velocity and control were among the reasons he was selected Tuesday by the Washington Nationals in the 16th round of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft.

Herrera spent a year at St. Mary's University before transferring to San Jacinto North for his sophomore season.

Herrera signed a contract with the Nationals on Monday and will begin his professional career with the Vermont Lake Monsters of the short-season New York-Penn League.

Herrera became the first player coached by Cuero coach Scott Holder to sign a major league contract.

"He made a drastic improvement," Holder said. "You could see he had a little life in his arm. We had to work on his conditioning and his mental strength.

"Once his conditioning and mental strength came around he blossomed into a great baseball player. He also worked hard in the weight room between his junior and senior year and that had a lot to do with it."

Herrera was used exclusively in relief at San Jacinto last season. He had a 2-2 record with two saves and a 1.03 ERA. He had 37 strikeouts in 26.1 innings.

The Lake Monsters open the season Friday and play until September.



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