Kelvin Herrera is one of the best RP in MLB, but will now take on closing duties for the Royals. What is his fantasy value heading into 2017?
A huge part of the Royals recent success and World Series championship, was that they created their bullpen to be the best in the league. Thanks to Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera, the Royals started the fad of building super bullpens.
Now that Wade Davis in Chicago and Greg Holland is still looking for a team as he recovers, Kelvin Herrera is the last stud standing. Herrera is now the Royals’ closer, and could ascend the ranks as one of the best fantasy RP in MLB.
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In 2016, Herrera posted a 2.75 ERA/0.95 WHIP/12 SV/26 HLD/86 line in 72 innings. His performance last season made it the fifth straight year that he has posted a sub-4.00 ERA, while posting at least a 7.6 SO/9.
He has especially excelled over the last three seasons. not posting an ERA over 2.75. One minor knock on Herrera was that he did not have the eye-popping K numbers that other set-up men possess, but last season he posted a career high 86 K.
Herrera excelled thanks to his 95+ mph fastball, and his disappearing changeup. But, last season he added two wrinkles to his game that was key to his K uptick. He started to feature both a slider and curveball into his game, and the results were immediate.
His fastball still generates around a 15% Whiff rate, and his changeup is as nasty as ever, generating a 26% Whiff rate. Both are respectable numbers, but add a slider Whiff rate of 21% and a curve Whiff rate of 13%, and you can now see that he has quite the arsenal.
Heading into 2017, Herrera has the chance to be a top-5 RP. Holland and Davis did it, and one could argue that Herrera has the best stuff out of all them. His batted ball data, 23% LD, 44% GB and 33% FB rate, were nearly identical to his numbers in 2015. He just keeps plugging along.
He was having extreme success before, but now that he has two more weapons at his disposal, 90+ K are definitely in play. It is hard to deem RP “safe”, but based on his track record and recent breaking ball usage, he should be one of the safest RP heading into 2017.