Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
The Potential of KC’s Bullpen
The Royals dominated the entire 2014 postseason with their lockdown bullpen. During that time, the Royals basically played 6 inning games with the strongest back end of the bullpen in the MLB.
You can see that in 2014 Holland was one of the best relievers in the MLB. Starting out 2015, Holland wasn’t pitching with the same consistency. Holland’s K% dropped 12.1%, with that his BB% increased 5.2%. GB% and FB% stayed the same but the effectiveness of Hollands’ fastball and slider dropped significantly. His fastball velocity dropped 2.1mph, and was being hit for harder contact. Holland definitely struggled in 2015, most likely feeling the early effects of his impending Tommy John Surgery. With Hollands injury, it not only weakened the bullpen, but forced other players to step up into higher leverage roles.
Even without Holland, the back end of the Royals bullpen still remains strong. In the setup role is the hard throwing Kelvin Herrera. Although Herrera hasn’t been as sharp this year, (1.41ERA in 2014, 2.71ERA in 2015) his extremely effective four seamer, which touches 100mph at times, and deadly changeup can stump the best of batters. On the upside for the Blue Jays, Herrera has had his struggles against righty bats this year. In 2014, Herrera was a righty expert and struggled with lefties, but in 2015 Herrera has done a complete 180.
In the closers role is probably one of the best relievers in the game, Wade Davis. Unlike Holland and Herrera, Davis’ stats have remained consistent year to year and throughout the playoffs this season. Davis posted a 0.94ERA in 67.1IP in 2015. In the 2015 postseason, Davis has pitched in 3 games, going 4IP, only allowing 2 base runners on one hit. Neither of those base runners scored. The only true way to beat Davis is by making sure that bullpen door doesn’t open late in the game.
Next: Those Royals have Got Glove