In 2006, Herrera signed with Royals scouts Daurys Nin and Rafael Vasquez, out of the Dominican Republic.
Kelvin is a second cousin of former 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 2009, Baseball America 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.
During the 2011 season, Kelvin called his mother in the Dominican Republic, no matter how late, 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 batsmen 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)
In January 2016, criminals broke into Kelvin's home 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 2015, 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 backyard, 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)
May 24, 2018: Herrera answered these five questions:
1. Do you have a pregame ritual? "No, I don’t have one. I just get ready to pitch, that’s it. My ritual is I don’t have a ritual"
2. What is your favorite place for barbecue in Kansas City? "I don’t really go out in Kansas City to eat, because I have my family here and we cook here."
3. What is the best meal you can make? "I like ribs. I can make ribs. I make the sauce with bitter oranges. I mix in a couple more things, pour it on and wait. Just wait."
4. What is your favorite movie? "There’s a comedy movie named Grown-Ups 2. I love it. The four guys are just playing around, having a good time. I love that movie."
5. Who was your favorite athlete growing up? "That was Pedro Martinez. I grew up watching the guy and enjoying every game that he pitched. Trying to be like that guy is tough. I’m not a starter anymore, but I’m his friend. It is cool." (Pete Grathoff-pgrathoff@kcstar)
December 13, 2006: Herrera signed with Royals scouts Daurys Nin and Rafael Vasquez, out of the Dominican Republic.
February 3, 2017: The Royals and Herrera agreed on a one-year pact at $5.3 million to avoid arbitration.
Jan 12, 2018: Kelvin and the Royals avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year deal for $7.9 million.
June 18, 2018: The Royals traded Herrera to the Nationals for 3B Kelvin Gutierrez, CF Blake Perkins and RHP Yohanse Morel.
Oct 29, 2018: Kelvin elected free agency.
- Jan 8, 2019: The White Sox signed free agent Herrera.
|Birth City:||Tenares, D. R.|
|Draft:||2006 - Royals - Free agent - Out of the D.R.|
Herrera has a two-seam 95-101 mph 4-seam FASTBALL with good boring action, and has even hit 103 mph. Righthanded batters do not get a good swing off that pitch. He also has an 87-89 mph SLIDER and an 88-91 mph CUTTER
Kelvin also has an impressive late-sinking 88-92 mph CHANGEUP that some scouts like better than his heater, because of its late tumbling action.
"When they hit him, they hit the fastball," an American League scout said. "But that changeup, forget it."
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.
2017 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball: 64.3% of the time; Sinker .1% of the time; Change 19%; Slider 10%; Curve .3%; and Cutter 6.4% of the time.
2019 Season Pitch Usage: 4-seam Fastball 49.9% of the time, his Sinker 6%; Change 19.3%; Slider 13.9%; Curve less than 1%; and Cutter 10.8% of the time. Average velocity: 4-seam 96.4 mph, Sinker 5.6, Change 88.9, Slider 82.5, Curve 85.3, and Cutter 92.1 mph.
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. That was just an effort to give him 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 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.
Best pitch: Herrera's two-seam fastball . What it does: Herrera can throw this with basically the same velocity as his four-seamer (97-98 mph range), which is a rarity. Like most two-seamers, there is some sink to it, but Herrera prefers more horizontal movement so it runs in on the hands of righthanders and away from lefthanders ("Eventually, I want them to run out of bat," Herrera says.)
What Kelvin says about it: "It's definitely my go-to pitch. If it's all on the line, I go with that."
- In 2017, Herrera took over the Royals' closer job after the team traded Wade Davis to the Cubs.
- 2019 season: There’s no sugar-coating it was not a great season for Kelvin. He went 3-3 with one save and a 6.14 ERA in 57 games for the White Sox.
There is hope for the future, however.
Herrera ended the campaign by logging a 1.93 ERA in 10 outings in the season’s final month.
In addition, his average of 14.5 strikeouts per nine innings in the month is tied for the third-highest output in franchise history for pitchers with at least 10 outings in the month.
Only Jesse Crain (15.6) and Sergio Santos (15.6), both in 2011, rank higher. (Soxnerd - March 31, 2020)
- As of the start of the 2020 season, Herrera had a 27-32 career record, a 3.15 ERA having allowed 48 home runs and 455 hits in 511 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 got in only eight relief appearances all year long.
October 3, 2014: Herrera was sidelined after just one game of the AL 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.
Aug 8-21, 2018: Kelvin was on the DL with right rotator cuff impingement.
Aug 27-Oct 1, 2018: Kelvin was on the DL with left Lisfranc tear.
- July 18-Aug 11, 2019: Kelvin was on the IL with right oblique strain.