Longtime White Sox rival Kelvin Herrera now finds himself on the South-Side. The 29-year-old pitcher should fight for a closer role as the White Sox continue to stack the bullpen this offseason. The Sox have made important moves this offseason, especially in the bullpen. Adding Kelvin Herrera to the list should help out tremendously.
Last season, reliever Kelvin Herrera started with the Royals and was traded to the Nationals. In 2018 he produced a 2-3 record with a 2.44 ERA with 38 strikeouts, 17 saves and 10 walks over 44.1 innings pitched. His season was cut short due to a torn ligament in his left foot.
Despite having his season cut short, his numbers last season were strong, especially to start the year. In his first 25.2 innings pitched with Kansas City, he had a 1.05 ERA with 22 strikeouts. Although he did struggle a bit when he arrived in Washington, it was with smaller sample size.
Herrera has been a strong reliever throughout his career. He normally has an ERA below 3.00 and will normally pitch around 68 innings a year. His career numbers are a 24-29 record with a 2.82 ERA, 454 strikeouts and 60 saves over 460 innings pitched.
Whether he becomes the White Sox closer for next season is tough to say at this point. The White Sox recently acquired Alex Colome from Seattle who is another closer caliber player and the team has prospect Zack Burdi, who some view as a future closer waiting in the wings as he lit up the Arizona Fall League.
Looking At The Bullpen Now
As the White Sox continue to stack the bullpen, let’s look at it right now. The pitchers in the White Sox bullpen as of January 9th is Jose Ruiz, Aaron Bummer, Caleb Frare, Ian Hamilton, Ryan Burr, Thyago Vieira, Juan Minaya, Jace Fry, Kelvin Herrera, Nate Jones and Alex Colome. That is a pretty nasty bullpen. Looking at the closer position, four guys could have a shot at it for 2019.
The 4 Potential Options
The first option is the tenured Nate Jones. Although he has closed games before, he hasn’t done it a lot, mostly due to his battles with injuries. Last season he converted five of eight opportunities and produced a 3.00 ERA as a whole. Jones would be a more unlikely option for closer, but he does have a chance.
Another option is Jace Fry. He is one of the younger pitchers in the pen and started off 2018 extremely strong. He has a wicked curveball and solid movement with his fastball which allows him to rack up strikeouts. Last season he converted on four of five save opportunities, not bad, but his age and minimal experience also make him unlikely to get the role.
Recent acquisition Kelvin Herrera is definitely in the discussion. Last season he converted on 17 of 19 attempts and has been closing for the past three seasons. He did struggle a bit in 2017 but rebounded quite nicely last season.
The favorite for the role is likely Alex Colome though. Last season he converted on 12 of 17 attempts between Tampa and Seattle. Although 2017 wasn’t his strongest season and he wasn’t closing much in Seattle, he is an all-star caliber reliever who has dominated in the past.
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