Kelvin Herrera was dreadful in his first season with the Chicago White Sox and that will need to change in 2020.
Herrera, 30, was just terrible during his first season in the South Side and there’s no way around that. Across 57 appearances in 2019, the right-hander had a 6.14 ERA, 4.58 FIP, 1.617 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, and 4.0 BB/9.
The good news is that there are actually some relatively promising trends in that, believe it or not.
His strikeout rate was actually the third-highest of his career while his FIP was 1.56 points lower than his ERA, which suggests he might have run into some bad luck last season.
That being said, he also had the highest walk rate of his career, but it wasn’t much higher than his previous career-high of 3.4 BB/9 in 2015. He had a 2.71 ERA that season too which gives off the impression that a higher walk rate doesn’t necessarily translate to worse results for Herrera.
In terms of reasons to be concerned, Herrera appeared to struggle in 2018 after being traded from the Kansas City Royals to the Washington Nationals. With Washington, Herrera had a 4.34 ERA, 5.68 FIP, 1.714 WHIP, 7.7 K/9, and 3.9 BB/9.
With that being said, the fear with Herrera would be that the White Sox might have signed him on the way downhill and if he doesn’t show any signs of life in 2020, his $8.5 million salary won’t be easily moveable.
Moving his contract shouldn’t even really be the hope for the White Sox, though, as they really need him to bounce back to fortify the bullpen.
So far, the White Sox only managed to add one reliever in Steve Cishek to fortify their bullpen.
While the team’s bullpen wasn’t the biggest of issues for them last season, they are largely gambling on inexperienced arms to carry their bullpen this season.
Herrera likely provides the best chance for improvement out of last year’s relief options which makes him the wild card of their bullpen.
I suppose after providing little to no help last season, it can’t get much worse from here for Herrera. But, a healthy and productive Kelvin Herrera would help fortify the White Sox’s bullpen in 2020.