The KC Royals have added another power arm to their organization, hopefully increasing their pitching value even more.
Many fans were likely left wondering what would come next when the Royals announced on Thursday that outfielder Nick Heath was being designated for assignment. Heath had been with the organization since he was drafted in 2016 and had made a name for himself using his speed.
The Royals needed to make room, though, and Heath was apparently the odd man out. Today, the Royals announced that Nick Heath is going to Arizona and in return, Kansas City will receive Eduardo Herrera.
Heath finally got his chance at the majors last season but only saw 15 games and 18 plate appearances. In that short time, he slashed .154/.313/.231 adding 2 stolen bases and 3 RBIs. While his numbers were low, the sample wasn’t truly large enough to see if he could have an impact in the majors.
For Heath, his biggest tool was his speed. He stole more than 30 bases in a season twice in the minors, and in 2019, he stole 60 in 105 games. It seems the Royals are looking past his speed on the basepath, though, and looking more toward strikeouts from the mound.
Eduardo Herrera, who Kansas City has acquired, will definitely bring more strikes. Herrera was signed by Arizona in 2016 as an international free agent. He initially played around the field as a catcher, 2nd, and 3rd baseman, but has converted to a pitcher.
Herrera has struggled at times during his few short years as a relief pitcher but he may seem familiar to Royals fans as he is similar to a few they have currently in the system.
Herrera pitched only 2.0 innings in 2018, but in 2019 he got a larger sample size between rookie and lower A ball. Over 23.2 innings, he held an ERA of 4.56 and while he walked 6.5 per 9, he struck out 14.5 per 9.
At 21 years old, it’s unlikely he will have any immediate impact in Kansas City as he has only seen the lower levels of the minors, but it’s likely the Royals will begin working with him immediately to try and help his control.
Kansas City has helped two pitchers recently, Josh Staumont and Jake Brentz, learn to control their pitches better and they may have similar thoughts about Herrera. And, while it’s unlikely he would be used in any other capacity, Herrera does have experience at catcher and playing some in the infield. The Royals do love versatility.
Once the minor leagues get into full swing, fans will get a better look at Herrera and will hopefully see some improvement in his control. If Herrera and the Royals can get his walks under control, the future pitching in Kansas City could be even more dangerous than it’s already looking
The Royals have traded Nick Heath to Arizona for pitcher Eduardo Herrera.