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Along with Greg Holland, Kelvin Herrera could be part of the best one-two relief punch in baseball in 2013.
Herrera may not have the astronomical strikeout rates of fellow Kansas City relievers Gregg Holland and Tim Collins, but he suffers only be comparison to their double-digits-per-nine approach. Herrera still manages to strikeout out more eight per nine. Moreover, unlike Holland or Collins, Herrera has good control, walking only about six percent of the batters he faced in 2012. He also keeps the ball on the ground well, which is nice for keeping the ball in the park.
Herrera is most a fastball-changeup guy, although he will throw a curveball in there every once in a while. While he is better versus right-handed hitters, he is good enough overall to face both right- and left-handed hitters. His change keeps the southpaws from turning him into platoon reliever. Well, that and a 99 miles-per-hour fastball. Yikes. Couple that with a 87 mph change, and you have a potential future closer.
The scary thing is, as I'll get to next week, Gregg Holland still might be my preference if I had to choose between them. But Holland is one of the best relievers in baseball, and it is not easy choice. Whatever else has gone wrong in Kansas City, Dayton Moore should be complimented on his excellent, (mostly) home-grown bullpen. Joakim Soria was great for a while, but he probably will not be greatly missed. Herrara and Holland might be the most devastating one-two relief punch in baseball in 2013, no matter what order you put them in.