Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
Is Greg Holland still an elite closer?
From the time that he took over as the Kansas City Royals closer through the end of the 2014 season, few closers were at the level of Greg Holland. He was one of the best in the game, someone whose appearance tended to signal another victory for the Royals. The pantheon of top closers in baseball included Holland, Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman, in some order. That is some truly lofty company.
This year, Holland may not even be the best closer on the Royals, with that honor potentially belonging to Wade Davis. Holland has battled injuries and general ineffectiveness, posting a 3.64 ERA and a 1.381 WHiP. Holland’s control, which has typically been stellar, has failed him at times this season, as he has allowed 23 walks in 42 innings, for a career high 4.9 walks per nine. Meanwhile, his 10.1 strikeouts per nine marks a career low.
Holland has also disappeared at random times this year. He went ten days between appearances before earning a save on Tuesday, and made three appearances in a two week time frame from July 28th through August 13th. Perhaps those injury concerns from earlier in the year are even more pronounced than one would have thought.
The Kansas City Royals have one of the deepest bullpens in all of baseball. However, they still need their closer to come through. Maybe this time off will let Greg Holland be the dominant force he has been in years past.