Kansas City Royals all-time top 50 players: No. 50 to No. 31

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 17: Infielder Joe Randa
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 17: Infielder Joe Randa /
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SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Kelvin Herrera
SEATTLE, WA – JULY 05: Kelvin Herrera /

No. 42) Kelvin Herrera, relief pitcher, 2011-present

At the turn of the decade, the Royals were overwhelmed with relief pitching prospects. The names included Greg Holland, Aaron Crow, Tim Collins and Kelvin Herrera. The latter dazzled onlookers by lighting up the radar gun and coming through in the most important of situations. Despite tailing off as the closer in 2017, he has had a very respectable career. From 2012 to 2016, Herrera had a 2.62 ERA and averaged 70 appearances per season. Even more, Herrera is the proud owner of a 1.26 career playoff ERA.

In case you want another ERA statistic, this one is incredible: No team in the history of baseball has had more than one reliever with at least 60 innings pitched and a sub-1.50 ERA. That was, until H-D-H existed. Herrera, Davis and Holland gave the 2014 Royals THREE such pitchers. Kansas City Royals fans will never forget the bullpen dominance we have seen in recent seasons, and perhaps no one has been steadier during that dominance than Herrera.

No. 41) Lou Piniella, outfielder, 1969-73

Sweet Lou Piniella was known for his intensity and flare. Originally drafted by the Seattle Pilots, Piniella was traded to the Kansas City Royals and broke through with the team. In fact, Piniella is both the first batter and the holder of the first hit in franchise history. He was the American League Rookie of the Year in that inaugural season of 1969 and was named an All-Star in 1972.

The Yankees went on to acquire Piniella. After his 11-year playing stint in New York, he began his coaching career there. The two-time AL Manager of the Year coached for the better part of two decades, highlighted by his 1990 World Series win with the Reds and his 116-win season in 2001 with the Mariners.