Greg Holland. All-Star. (Photo: Jake Roth — USA Today)
When three pitchers were starting this close to the All-Star Game, it was a certainty that replacements would be named to fill their spots on the American League roster.
Thankfully, for Greg Holland and the Royals, that ended up placing a third Royal on the All-Star team this year. Previously, Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez had been named to the American League roster, the first time since 2003 that the Royals had sent two players to the Midsummer Classic.
With Holland’s inclusion, it marks the first time since 1988 that the Royals have sent three players to the All-Star Game.
When assessing potential Royals for the honor, I felt that Holland’s performance was most deserving and most likely to earn him a spot on the roster, but the initial rosters ( and Final Vote selections) left Holland on the outside looking in. When Hisashi Iwakama was scratched from the team (Iwakama pitched on Sunday, so, as a starter, he wouldn’t be available for Tuesday’s All-Star Game), Holland was named as a replacement for his spot on the roster.
Holland is more than deserving as one of the top relievers in the league. He’s striking out players at a near historic rate, he’s been nearly unhittable in the last two months, and he’s got an arsenal of upper-90s heat and a wicked slider that routinely shut down batters.