In 2006, Herrera signed with Royals scouts Daurys Nin and Rafael Vasquez, out of the Dominican Republic.
- Kelvin is a second cousin of Braves pitcher Sugar Ray Marimon.
- In 2007, he dominated in the Royals Dominican Summer League team, going 4-1 with a 0.84 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 43 innings.
In the winter before 2009 spring training, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Kelvin as the 12th-best prospect in the Royals organization.
In 2010, he was not in the book. But in the spring of 2011, they had Herrera at #30. And they moved him all the way up to 7th-best prospect in the Royals' farm system in the offseason before 2012 spring camps opened.
- Herrera adjusted quickly to life in the USA in 2008.
During the 2011 season, Kelvin called his mother in the Dominican Republic, no matter how late the hour, every time he won a promotion within the Royals' organization.
And there were a lot of calls because Herrera went from Class A to Double-A to Triple-A to the Major Leagues. So the question is: Did he call his mother Maria after he won a spot on the Royals' roster to open the 2012 season?
"Of course," Herrera said. "Her son is a big league player now."
And he was the youngest player on the youngest 25-man roster in the Majors. The team's average age on Opening Day was 27 years, 155 days and Herrera was 22 years, 97 days.
"The youngest one?" he said. "Nice. I think God blessed me."
In 2011, Herrera and Wil Myers represented the Royals at the All-Star Futures Game.
April 21, 2015: Herrera received a five-game suspension and an undisclosed fine for intentionally throwing a pitch in the head area of Brett Lawrie of the A’s.
April 23, 2015: What started as an exchange of hit batsman, ended with the ejection of several players following a heated benches-clearing incident.
Once again, the bill has come due for the Royals' in-game exuberance this season. After the benches-clearing fracas in Chicago with the White Sox, Major League Baseball disciplined players from both teams, though the Royals clearly received the harsher sentences.
Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura received a seven-game suspension, while teammates Edinson Volquez (five games), Lorenzo Cain (two games), and Kelvin Herrera (two games) also were disciplined. All four also received undisclosed fines. (J Flanagan - MLB.com - April 25, 2015)
Criminals broke into Kelvin's home in January 2016 and stole all of Herrera's jewelry, including his American League championship ring from 2014 and his World Baseball Classic ring from 2013. The criminals broke a window in Herrera's home in Tenares, Dominican Republic, and also got away with three Minor League championship rings, his All-Star Game ring from last summer, a Winter League championship ring (Leones del Escogido), all of his shoes, belts, speakers, and other household items.
Herrera told MLB.com, though, that three of the rings were returned—his American League Championship ring, the WBC ring and a Winter League title ring. The rings were tossed into his back yard, presumably, he believed, because his name was on the rings, making them difficult to sell.
"Maybe they've already sold the other stuff," Herrera said.
There are no suspects, Herrera said, and he is unhappy that police haven't solved the crime. Herrera took to Twitter to explain his frustration.
"The criminals took everything we had of value," Herrera tweeted in Spanish, "including my ALCS 2014 Championship ring and my World Baseball Classic 2013 ring. Also taken were my Escogido championship rings and other items of incalculable sentimental value.
"Two months later, the Police of Tenares, the town where I was born and which I've never turned my back on, has done absolutely nothing. They don't have any clues or a suspect and it's a frustrating situation. Through this message I call on the authorities, especially Mayor Ermes Rodriguez and the Director of the Municipal Police, Martin Almonte, to wake up and help stop crime." (Flanagan - MLB.com - 3/4/16)
- February 3, 2017: The Royals and Herrera agreed on a one-year pact at $5.325 million to avoid arbitration.
|Home:||Tenares, Dom. Rep.||Team:||ROYALS|
|Birth City:||Tenares, Dom. Rep.|
|Draft:||2006 - Royals - Free agent|
Herrera has a two-seam 92-96 mph sinking FASTBALL with good boring action. And his four-seam heater is in the 94-101 mph range, and has even hit 103 mph. Righthanded batters do not get a good swing off that pitch.
Kelvin also has a solid 12-to-6 CURVEBALL with good spin and bite. He also has an impressive late-sinking 82-88 mph CHANGEUP that scouts like better than his heater, because of its late tumbling action. In 2012, hitters were only able to put that change in play about 25 percent of the time, so it might be a more dominant pitch than his heater.
"When they hit him, they hit the fastball," an American League scout said. "But that changeup, forget it."
- 2017: Herrera took over the Royals' closer job after the team traded Wade Davis to the Cubs.
2016 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 55.6% of the time; Sinker 4.2% of the time; Change 19.2%; Slider 7.8%; Curve 13%; and Cutter .1% of the time.
- When he has on top of the baseball, Herrera has very impressive downward movement.
- Kelvin has solid command to both sides of the plate. He knows well that location, and alternating location, is a very valuable asset.
"He changes eye levels on his fastball," Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland said. "Guys that throw hard, hitters can lock in on if that's all they throw, but he can change speeds. And you throw the curveball in on that mix and this guy's going to be really, really tough. He's really tough now."
Before 2010, Herrera had been putting stress on his arm by landing on his heel, so the Royals tried to get him to land on the ball of his foot.
In 2011, Kelvin smoothed out the jarring motion he'd had before. While his mechanics will never be considered smooth or clean, they do allow him to throw strikes. But, they also lead to concerns about his long-term health.
- In 2012, Herrera's fastball velocity averaged 98.5 mph.
- Herrera is real tough on righthanded hitters because his fastball rides in on their hands.
- Durability concerns landed Kelvin in the bullpen. He has the stuff, and the mentality, to be a closer.
- For the 2013 season Kelvin said "I need to add a pitch this season. It's a sweep curveball."
Herrera made three starts in his five appearances for Escogido in the 2013 Dominican Winter League, after the 2013 season. That was just an effort to give the reliever some multiple-inning outings so he could refine his pitches, primarily his curveball.
"I was working on a breaking ball, my curve," Kelvin said. "It was pretty good and I'm still working on it, getting better on that pitch. I'm going to have three pitches in 2014—changeup, breaking ball, and fastball."The curve must have worked pretty well because Herrera gave up just two earned runs in 9 1/3 innings, while registering 14 strikeouts. (Kaegel - mlb.com - 02/13/14)
May 5, 2015: Herrera's amazing homerless streak of 105 1/3 innings ended when Cleveland's Lonnie Chisenhall homered. That streak was a Royals record for a reliever. Herrera hadn't given up a homer since July 26, 2013.
- As of the start of the 2017 season, Herrera had a 19-23 career record, a 2.63 ERA having allowed 25 home runs and 292 hits in 356 innings.
2009: Herrera missed all but one start with a strained elbow ligament. Surgery was not required. The elbow problem stemmed from a change in Kelvin's delivery. He had been landing on his heel, and the Royals wanted him to land on the ball of his foot.
He overcompensated and shortened his stride to land on his toe, which produced the same jarring effect the Royals were trying to eliminate.
May 2010: Kelvin was on the D.L. with more elbow problems. (They may be related to changes in his mechanics.) He only got in eight relief appearances all year long.
October 3, 2014: Herrera was sidelined after just one game of the A.L. Division Series vs. the Angels with a flexor strain in his right forearm.
September 5, 2015: Alex Rios and Herrera, the two Royals who contracted the chickenpox virus, participated in private workouts at Kauffman Stadium hours before the rest of the team arrived, manager Ned Yost said.
"They [Rios and Herrera] both said they were feeling much better," Yost said. Yost also said both players still had some chickenpox lesions that had not completely dried up, meaning they still could be contagious. Once they are cleared to return to the clubhouse mix, it likely would be a day or two before Rios and Herrera would be ready to resume playing again with the team, Yost said.