Another member of the KC Royals 2015 World Series team is saying goodbye to baseball.
Across sports, every team and fanbase has certain players that are remembered better than others. Whether it is for good reasons or bad, these players hold special memories among a large percentage of fans and will go down in team history. For the KC Royals, there are a lot of players that may come to mind, and many of them are still playing.
The 2014-2015 Royals World Series teams gave fans a number of players that will forever be a part of team history. From Alex Gordon to Wade Davis, each player on the field likely had at least one moment that fans will recall with joy and happiness.
Of course, that team has gone their separate ways. Many are still playing around baseball, and some are still with the Royals or have found their way home. Alex Gordon retired at the end of the 2020 season, and now, as we gear up for the 2021 season, reliever Kelvin Herrera has announced that he is retiring from baseball.
Herrera’s career began in 2011 with the KC Royals. He spent most of his career in Kansas City, though he was traded to the Nationals in 2018. His time there was short, and he spent his 2019 and 2020 with the White Sox, though he was released in August 2020. He was picked up by the Cubs shortly after but was again released in less than a month.
While Herrera’s last few seasons were not the best of his career, they were the not so uncommon decline that is often seen in pitchers as they age. While Herrera is going out at only 31, he began his major league career at 21 and saw more success than some see in even longer careers.
Instead of focusing on those seasons, though, what is important to look at are his contributions during his peak and his time in Kansas City.
Herrera joined the Royals organization at 17 in 2007 and quickly made his way through the minor league system. By 2011, he had made it to Triple-A ball and had proven his ability enough that he got a chance in the majors. Unfortunately, the 2.0 innings he pitched were not his best, allowing 3 runs for an ERA of 13.50.
Luckily, Kansas City saw past the pitcher’s first few major league innings, and in 2012, he found his place. Herrera became a workhorse, appearing in 76 games and pitching 84.1 innings, keeping an ERA of 2.35 and an FIP of 2.70.
2013 brought similar numbers, with an ERA of 3.86 and FIP of 3.70 over 58.1 innings pitched. He also saw one of his highest SO/9 in this season of 11.4. While his strikeouts dipped in 2014 (7.6 SO/9), he had the best ERA of his career, 1.41 over 70.0 innings with an FIP of 2.69.
2015 and 2016 brought Herrera 2 All-Star appearances, and rightfully so. In 2015, Herrera threw 69.2 innings with an ERA of 2.71 and FIP of 3.44, followed by a 2016 ERA of 2.75 over 72.0 innings with an FIP of 2.47.
2017 was the worst of Herrera’s time in Kansas City. He pitched 59.1 innings, but struggled, seeing his ERA jump to 4.25, and FIP to 4.30. Luckily, he started off 2018 right, pitching 25.2 innings with an ERA of 1.05 before being traded to the Nationals.
Herrera also has some impressive numbers in the postseason. Over 2 postseasons, Herrera pitched 28.2 innings, holding an ERA of 1.26 and a SO/9 of 11.9.
Over both ALCS appearances, he pitched 11.1 innings, allowing no runs, and over both World Series appearances, he pitched 11.2 innings with an ERA of 1.54.
Kelvin Herrera ended his career with a career ERA of 3.21 over 513.2 innings pitched, 522 games, 61 saves, and 510 strikeouts.
That’s a lot of numbers to read through, but they are important. They are needed to see just how big of an impact Herrera really had on the Royals. While it’s not right to say that he was often forgotten hidden behind the outstanding Wade Davis and Greg Holland, (he was a part of the dominant HDH) it still seems that Herrera is often mentioned to the side, even though he was typically the one who paved the way for Davis and Holland to save the games.
Luckily among Royals fans, Herrera’s dominance and contributions to Kansas City will likely never be forgotten. He played important and varying roles in a bullpen that saw a transformation, and was always a constant force, allowing the Royals to rely on him for consistency.
When thinking of those players that will be a part of team history, there is no doubt that Kelvin Herrera will always be one of them. Herrera will be remembered as an important reliever, a crucial member of the World Series teams, and a player that was raised Royals.
For Royal reliever, Kelvin Herrera, has retired from baseball.