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Getting to know the D-backs’ newest reliever, Greg Holland

Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland throws during the ninth inning of Game 4 of the American League baseball championship series against the Baltimore Orioles Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum )

Greg Holland has reportedly signed a one-year deal to become the Arizona Diamondbacks’ newest addition to the bullpen.

In his eight MLB seasons, the 33-year-old right-hander has a 2.83 ERA, 189 saves in 212 attempts, 11.6 strikeouts per nine innings, a 1.1 WHIP and a .202 opponent batting average.

The former Western Carolina walk-on has a fastball that at times can reach up to the triple digit territory.

“Heck yeah,” D-backs closer Archie Bradley said Wednesday when asked about the D-backs’ acquisition of Holland before teeing off in the Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro-Am.

“All-star reliever. Guy with a bunch of saves. I think any time you bolster the back of your bullpen you’re doing something good, something positive. We’re making moves to win games and that’s what we’re trying to do.

“There’s always competition. There’s going to be competition for the starting spots too. At the end of the day, we’re looking to put guys in the best spot to win. You know me. Closing, starting, relieving, whatever. I’m trying to win games and make the playoffs.”

Holland was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 10th round of the 2007 draft and made his MLB debut in 2010.

In his tenure with the Royals, the right-hander was a World Series champion (2015) and two-time all-star (2013-14).

Holland spent three seasons as the Royals’ full-time closer (2013-2015).

In his first season as a big league closer, Holland had a 1.21 ERA, 103 strikeouts and a 0.87 WHIP in 67 innings pitched to go along with 47 saves in 50 opportunities, setting the Royals’ franchise record for saves in one season.

The following year, Holland had 46 saves in 48 opportunities to go with a 1.44 ERA, 90 strikeouts and a 0.91 WHIP in 62.1 innings pitched, awarding him the inaugural Mariano Rivera Award for the AL’s best relief pitcher.

In the 2014 postseason, his seven saves in 11 innings and 0.82 ERA tied the record for most saves in a single playoff series (4 in the ALCS) and tied the record for most saves in a single postseason (7).

Unfortunately for Holland, the Royals lost in Game 7 of the World Series to the San Francisco Giants.

Holland took a step back in 2015, as his 32 saves in 37 attempts, 3.83 ERA, 49 strikeouts and 1.46 WHIP in 44.2 innings pitched were not enough to award the closer any individual accolades.

Two weeks prior to the postseason, doctors discovered Holland had an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury in his throwing arm that required Tommy John surgery.

The Royals would go on to defeat the New York Mets in five games to win the World Series.

After missing the entire 2016 season to rehab his elbow injury, Holland returned as the closer of the Colorado Rockies.

His 2017 campaign started with an NL Reliever of the Month award for the month of May after being a perfect 20-for-20 in save opportunities, breaking the Rockies’ franchise record of consecutive saves to start a season to go along with a 1.31 ERA and 0.82 WHIP.

Holland finished the first half of the season with 28 saves in 29 attempts, a 1.62 ERA and an opponent’s slash line of .162/.264/.259, naming Holland to his third all-star game.

Holland’s production fell in the second half of the season, however, as he finished with a 3.61 ERA, 70 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP in 57.1 innings pitched.

His 41 saves in 45 opportunities finished tied for both the NL lead in saves and the Rockies’ single season saves record, awarding him the NL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

In 2018, Holland spent multiple stints in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system and was released in August after posting a 7.92 ERA, 22 strikeouts and 2.24 WHIP in only 25 innings for the big league club.

Following his release, the Washington Nationals picked up the eight-year veteran, where he posted a 0.84 ERA with 25 strikeouts and a 0.89 WHIP in 21.1 innings pitched.


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