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KANSAS CITY ROYALS[table “” not found /]
Wade Davis took baseball by storm last year, working the ninth inning for Kansas City after Greg Holland went down, and anchoring the pen all the way to a championship. Don’t expect the insane 2015 ERA to be the baseline, as his FIP stood at 2.29, xFIP at 3.07, and SIERA at 2.61.
That’s nothing to scoff at, but no one posts a 0.94 ERA without getting a little lucky. A BABIP of .200 is more than a little lucky, but if he posts a 2.20 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP while striking out 85 in 70 innings then most of you will be happy.
Kelvin Herrera isn’t Carter Capps or Dellin Betances, but he can still provide you with a line like 60 strikeouts in 70 innings pitched with a 3.00 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. He is a strong holds option for a team that has no problem handing the keys over to the bullpen.
He rides out a fiery 98 MPH fastball alongside an 89 MPH changeup and an occasional slider. Joakim Soria entering the picture isn’t good for his save chances, as Soria should get the ninth based on talent and experience should something happen to Davis, but Herrera is still one to keep in mind.
Joakim Soria’s strong 2014 was going to be tough to follow up, but he was still able to post healthy ratios and generate his best swinging strike rate since 2009. Yes, his ERA has sharply come down in the past few seasons, but his FIP/xFIP/SIERA suggest he is pretty much the same pitcher (his 2014 was insane with low-2s, but 2013 and 2015 look the same with numbers around 3.50).
He felt more comfortable with his fastball last year since his Tommy John surgery, throwing it at his pre-TJ rate of around 72 percent of the time. As we said, his experience is a huge plus vs. Herrera, should Davis go down, but if good health shines on this bullpen, Soria and Herrera are going to rack up holds ahead of the ninth all year.