ANAHEIM -- There was a nice story this spring about how pitcher Kelvin Herrera called his mother in the Dominican Republic last year, no matter how late the hour, 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 season? "Of course," Herrera said. "Her son is a big league player now."
And, even if he didn't realize it, the right-handed reliever is also 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." Manager Ned Yost sees Herrera's tremendous potential, one that combined for three Minor League teams last year got him a 7-1 record, 14 saves, a 1.60 ERA and 70 strikeouts (against 15 walks) in 67 2/3 innings. "Stuff -- 95 to 97 [mph]. Got a good breaking ball, good changeup. The ability to throw strikes. He's got good stuff, he's young," Yost said. Youngest on the youngest team. "Everybody's young here and somebody has to be the youngest," Herrera said. "And it's me."