White Sox

White Sox

The White Sox reportedly added an arm to the bullpen with the signing of Kelvin Herrera. The Royals dealt the 29-year-old (he turned 29 on New Year’s Eve) to the Nationals in June. His season ended prematurely after tearing the Lisfranc ligament in his left foot while fielding a ground ball on Aug. 26 in the ninth inning of a 15-0 blowout win against the Mets.

Herrera will get a fresh start with the White Sox in 2019. Here are five interesting things about the right-hander:

Herrera tossed 70 innings in 2014 without allowing a home run.

He’s one of only 7 pitchers from 1990 to present with 60+ innings in a season without coughing up a longball. Here’s that list:

Kelvin Herrera 2014 70.0
Wade Davis 2014 72.0 
Brandon League 2014 63.0
Peter Moylan 2009 73.0
Jim Johnson 2008 68 2/3
Jason Isringhausen 2002 65 1/3
Heathcliff Slocumb 1994 72 1/3

After that, Herrera came back down to earth with a reasonable 11 HR in 141.2 IP in 2015-16. That was followed a 2017-18 stretch where he struggled keeping the ball in the yard (15 HR in 103 2/3 IP). Herrera will at least need to get back to his 2015-16 levels in order to be successful.

Herrera has a 1.26 career ERA in 28 2/3 career postseason innings.

That’s eighth all-time among pitchers with at least 20 career postseason appearances. Here’s that list (also, Mariano Rivera was pretty good, wasn’t he?): 

Career postseason ERA – minimum 20 appearances

John Rocker 20 20 2/3 0.00
Chad Bradford 24 23 1/3 0.39
Trevor Rosenthal 23 26.0 0.69
Mariano Rivera 96 141.0 0.70
Jeremy Affeldt 33 31 1/3 0.86
Santiago Casilla 25 19 2/3 0.92
Andrew Miller 22 33.0 1.09
Kelvin Herrera 22 28 2/3 1.26

The first pitch Herrera threw in his MLB career hit Ryan Raburn (Sept. 21, 2011)

That guy always killed the White Sox. Raburn had 82 career RBIs vs. White Sox…and had no more than 25 against any other team.


Ryan Raburn MLB Career

Career vs. White Sox 122 games .296/.354/.518
Career vs. everyone else 824 games .246/.310/.422

Jason Giambi (2000 AL), Alex Rodriguez (2003, 2005, 2007 AL), Jimmy Rollins (2007 NL), Dustin Pedroia (2008 AL), Joey Votto (2010 NL), Buster Posey (2012 NL), Josh Donaldson (2015 AL) and Giancarlo Stanton (2017 NL) are all former MVP winners. They combined for 10 MVP awards won and they also combined to go 0-for-26 career vs Kelvin Herrera (including postseason).

Over the last five seasons, Herrera has the fourth most pitches thrown of at least 100 MPH.

This is according to the data available at baseballsavant.com. Here’s that list:

Most pitches of at least 100 MPH (2014-18) according to baseballsavant.com

Aroldis Chapman 2,047
Jordan Hicks 659
Mauricio Cabrera 342
Kelvin Herrera 311
Arquimedes Caminero 253

Unfortunately though, none of those 311 pitches came in 2018. 

Herrera 100+ MPH pitches from 2014-18 by season (baseballsavant.com):

2018 0
2017 10
2016 9
2015 158
2014 134

Herrera’s average fastball velocity has dipped from 98.1 as recently as 2015 to 96.5 in 2018. Was that partially as a result of injury? Tough to say; he did experience some shoulder tightness in August 2018.

If he remains healthy, doesn’t experience any further velocity loss, and brings his ground ball rate back up (35.6% in 2018 – it’s 47.0% for his career) he should still be effective for the White Sox in the coming seasons.

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