The White Sox added another veteran presence to their bullpen. White Sox fans should be very familiar with this addition, Kelvin Herrera. Herrera pitched for the Kansas City Royals from 2011 to 2018 before being traded to the Nationals this past season. Kelvin was one of the 2015 Royals at the center of multiple fights, one coming against the White Sox where Jeff Samardzija and Chris Sale infamously tried to get into the Royals clubhouse to fight some more after their ejections. Kelvin was instrumental to those Royals teams that went to back to back world series winning the 2015 fall classic, boasting a 0.66 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 13.2 innings pitched.
Kelvin like many relievers has been inconsistent, he has 8.88 strikeouts per nine for his career but has seen peaks over 10 strikeouts per 9 in 2013 and 2016, and valleys lower than 8 in 2018 and 2014. If someone does reach base with him on the mound they typically don’t come around to score, boasting a career 79.4 left on base percentage with a career high last season of 92.1 percent. Herrera has let ten percent of the balls hit in the air to leave the park over his career and it affected him last season most when he gave up the least amount of ground balls, 35.6 percent. When hit, his pitches spray all around the field and has no real platoon disadvantage letting 30 percent of lefties on base, and 27 percent of righties to reach and has no real changes in different leverage situations.
Kelvin relies on 4 pitches, a 4 seam fastball, a changeup, a slider, and a sinker. His sinker is deployed mostly when he tries to induce a ground ball. Like most Dominican pitchers Herrera throws very hard, his fastball averages 98 mph and has stayed there throughout the season. His changeup comes in about 9 miles per hour slower than his fastball, but normally allows more lift. His slider is nasty and last season generated 48.3 whiff rate and has been his go to strike out pitch since 2016 when it generated a 51.8 whiff rate. I mean just look at this slider, Edwin Encarnacion is no slouch either.
Kelvin will fit in nicely to Rick Hahn’s retooled bullpen. Along with some holdovers from last season and Alex Colome the bullpen seems just about set. As I said on twitter earlier it seems that the White Sox organization are not only looking for an uptick in wins, but maybe more importantly seeing some of those young pitchers see some of their hard work end in wins, however meaningless I may see the pitcher win stat. Reynaldo Lopez had over half of his starts end in a no decision last season, maybe Ricky and Rick think Rey will take that next step in development if he sees those pitcher wins increase. Whatever the reasoning, the White Sox bullpen which had a 4.49 ERA last season will be better this year after the additions of the aforementioned Colome and Kelvin. Herrera got a guaranteed two year deal for 18 million dollar deal with a third year vesting option based on health. This is a great contract, as it is not a back breaker and could even be a deal if Kelvin cures what seemed to ale him last season, it is short term as not to bog down the franchise, and if the brain trust deem him expendable, it is a contract that will be able to be traded if that is needed too.
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