Assessing the Kansas City Royals bullpen trio
The Kansas City Royals have a dominant bullpen trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland. Now that Kansas City is on the national map and in the World Series, these studs are being given deserved recognition. Here’s a quick assessment of each pitcher to keep in mind throughout the 2014 World Series.
Herrera primarily throws four-seam and two-seam fastballs. These pitches approach and often exceed 100 mph. His method of attack is up in the strike zone. He throws hard fastball after hard fastball, then mixes in an occasional changeup that has a sharp bite. His even more occasional breaking ball is referred to as a curveball, although its action resembles a splitter. This 24-year-old is blessed with crazy movement, high velocity and a unique arm angle. Herrera locks down the seventh inning and can relieve a struggling starter in the sixth if necessary.
Davis is the rare reliever with three quality pitches. He’ll throw a fastball that ventures from 95-98 mph, a cutter that touches the mid-90s and a curveball that’s usually in the mid-80s. Each pitch is used regularly. His fastball has late life, but his secondary pitches are what make him dominant. He spots his cutter all over the strike zone against lefties and righties. It’s a strikeout pitch and ground ball inducer. His curveball wickedly drops off the table and causes frequent swings and misses. Davis is the best setup man in baseball and had a regular season that warrants legendary status.
Holland sticks with a fastball and slider combination. While his fastball is typically located well, it’s his slider that makes him the best closer in the game. It can be buried in the dirt or cruelly spotted right below the edge of the strike zone. As hitters prepare for the drop of this excellent breaking pitch, he can power a high-90s fastball above the hands. This approach has given him a 2.19 career ERA. Holland is a nightmare to play a guessing game against. With six saves already recorded in the 2014 playoffs, this stud is on his way to having a Mariano Rivera type of October.
-Tyler Birss (@tybirss)