Chicago Cubs: 8th round pick DJ Herz wanted to be drafted by Cubs

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs invited DJ Herz to their pro select day at Wrigley Field. They saw enough in him that day to draft him in the eighth round.

When the Chicago Cubs invited Terry Stanford High School’s Davidjohn (DJ) Herz to their Pro Select Day at Wrigley Field  back in mid-April, he was the only left-handed pitcher there. He and Terry Stanford High School head coach Sam Guy made the trip up from Fayetteville, North Carolina and were amped up by the sight of Wrigley Field.

"“Pro Day at Wrigley was amazing and a moment I really had to take in. Just having that sense you’re playing in a stadium that is in a neighborhood, honestly feels like you’re at home. When I stepped on the field you could see all the rich history from the ivy wall to the World Series Championship in 2016. I was extremely excited when I got the invite and tried to take in every moment of it. After the pro select day, I told my parents “this is where I wanna play ball and get drafted” and luckily it turned out that way and I’ve very blessed and ready to make the best out of my opportunity.”"

Herz was named the Patriot Athletic 4-A/3-A Conference Player of the Year last season with an 8-1 record and an absurd 0.50 ERA. He also raked at the plate, batting 0.419 with 4 home runs and 26 RBI’s. His delivery is from a high 3/4 arm slot with a simple windup.

Herz’s fastball and curveball have been considered well ahead of schedule given his age. He touches the low to mid 90’s on his fastball and his curveball has been one of his “out” pitches. He has also been working on his changeup:

"“My Fastball and Curveball have always been my go to pitches. I have been playing for the best teams and the best competition when I was 8-16 and that was all I threw. We would always long toss the with 4-Seam Grip and the curveball always just came natural. Going into my senior year, I knew I had to develop a changeup even though I didn’t need it in High School ball but I needed it down the road. So I non-stop long tossed with my changeup grip and I used it a few times in high school but once I feel as I fix up my mechanics and master my changeup I will be somewhat of a complete pitcher.”"

He’s been able to gain 10 mph on his fastball since 2016 according to PerfectGame. I asked him how he was able to achieve this.

"“My coaches helped me a lot but I would give it more to my dad than anything that helped me gain my velocity. We wouldn’t just throw baseball long toss but we would also throw footballs as far as we could and I really think that helped my velocity. The velocity also came with me growing in size and weight. I believe in 2016 I was around 140 pounds and now i am 180. One thing that also helped me with my velocity was playing 3 sports. Especially football, it kept me in the weight room non stop and it kept me sprinting and keeping my body in shape. Other than that we are eating PB&J and Protein shakes.”"

Herz has a verbal commitment to the University of North Carolina this fall, so it will be interesting to see if he ends up signing with the Cubs. As someone who was highly scouted, he said he was able to tune out the presence of the scouts in the stands and the rest of the noise whenever he was on the mound:

"When I am on the mound I tune everything out, the noises, the clapping, who is here and who isn’t and the heckling. I think my best attribute as a pitcher is my mental toughness and I’ve always had that as a kid to block stuff out and not let anything get to me. The scouts coming to my game made me very humble and I was blessed for it but I think seeing the scouts and their radar guns always pushed me to go harder and pitch even better. I love the pressure. I love being put on the spot. I want those moments because it’s where I perform my best. So the scouts being at my game just made me more focused and not letting up a pitch or two.”"

He will have an interesting decision ahead of him. He can definitely get good development at a terrific school like North Carolina as well as an education. Or he could forgo his commitment and start his professional career. I asked Herz what his overall impression was of the Chicago Cubs organization to get a gauge for what he might do.

"“After Pro Select day I told my parents “this is exactly where I wanna go, if I could be drafted by any team”. They treated us very kindly and answered any question we had. They gave us outstanding tours. When we left the place, our family was like does it get any better than this? I am very grateful I am with this organization and made a kids dream come true.”"

Next. Team goes heavy on pitching in Day 2 draft picks. dark

Of course it is not always about baseball for these kids. They like to do things off the field as well.

"“When I am not playing baseball I love to play basketball even though I played it all my life. I played with Team Felton which is one of the best teams on the UA Circuit. I played with Joey Baker (Duke), Greg Gantt (Providence) and many more. I didn’t get to play my senior year for baseball reasons but i still have a love for it. I also like to play MLB The Show and other games with my brother. Just being around family and friends is the best thing I like to do when I’m not playing or thinking of baseball.”"

A special thank you to DJ Herz (@DavidjohnHerz) and best of luck with whatever you decide to do!