Ned Yost told the media today that Kelvin Herrera will be removed from closer’s duties after recent struggles, according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan. The team will rely on Mike Minor, Scott Alexander, and Brandon Maurer in the ninth, depending on the situation. Herrera has struggled this year with a 4.24 ERA in 51 innings, and blew his fourth save of the season on Thursday against the Twins. Herrera has given up seven runs in nine innings since August 1, with eight walks.
Herrera has dealt with some forearm issues this year, and his velocity is down from 2015, with his fastball now averaging 97.9 mph, according to Fangraphs. His strikeout rate is slightly below his career average, and his walks are up, but not to a significant degree. His home run rate has skyrocketed this year to 1.41 per-nine-innings.
The 27- year old Alexander has picked up three saves during Herrera’s struggles, and has posted a 2.12 ERA, despite an average strikeout rate of 7.6 per-nine-innings. The groundball specialist has not given up a run in his last 14 outings.
Mike Minor, another lefty, has a 2.82 ERA with 10.2 strikeouts-per-nine innings. He has been especially tough against lefties, allowing them to hit just .141/.204/.176 against him. Minor has faltered a bit in the second half with a 4.56 ERA in 23 2⁄3 innings since the All-Star break.
Brandon Maurer has struggled since the Royals acquired him in a trade from the Padres in July. He has a 7.02 ERA in 16 2⁄3 innings with the Royals despite 10.3 strikeouts-per-nine innings. He had a 5.72 ERA with the Padres, but closed out 20 saves.
Who should close out games for the Royals?
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