Why I Think Greg Holland Will Close

With it officially announced that Joakim Soria will receive Tommy John surgery, we are now focused on who ends up with more saves, Jonathan Broxton or Greg Holland. To me, Holland seems like the better bet to both get and hold onto the job for the length of the season.

For starters, Ned Yost has seen firsthand what Holland can do. He saw him net 24 shutdowns and meltdown just once, even though I doubt he uses those two statistics, he saw Holland’s dominance throughout last season. While Broxton does have the “closer experience,” he also pitched just 12.2 innings last year and recorded a 4.04 ERA the season before. His FIP of 3.01 that season was impressive, but I imagine Yost still values ERA more than any defensive independent pitching stat.

Earlier this week, Mike Podhorzer detailed all three of the potential closer candidates, including Aaron Crow with the two previously mentioned relievers. I also wrote about Holland in detail in Februrary, in which I attempted to project if his tremendous season was repeatable. Lastly, Chris Cwik included Holland’s wipeout slider among the best sliders in the game.

Holland most certainly has the stuff to be a dominant late-inning reliever for years to come, and I expect him to get his opportunity to do so this year. This spring, Holland has 11 strikeouts and one walk in seven innings pitched, which should help him as Yost and the Royals staff decide on who will be their ninth inning man this season.

Broxton has thrown just three innings this spring as he recovers from elbow surgery that he received last September. He has been relatively effective and is certainly still in the battle for the closing role, but his health combined with the fact that he has not performed well since 2009 make me believe Holland is the favorite for the job.

The only real thing Broxton has going for him is closer experience. In Milwaukee, Yost had no issues handing the closer job to Derrick Turnbow despite having just one career save before the 2005 season. I expect Yost values the better pitcher more than the closer experience, and while he has yet to play his hand, he wants to see the two perform before he and his staff decide on who will be the closer in Kansas City.

There are arguments for both, but when weighing the two options on a balance beam, Holland’s dominant season weighs more than Broxton’s experience. While it is still somewhat debatable that the better pitcher should be a closer rather than a bullpen ace of sorts, managers still like to have their best arm in the ninth inning and I expect Yost to make his decision in this manner. If you are drafting one, you should draft the other, but if you have to pick one to end up with more saves in the long run, I believe Holland is the correct choice.




Print This Post

Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.


17 Responses to “Why I Think Greg Holland Will Close”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
  1. Colin says:

    I have Holland at 5 bucks in an AL only keeper league, keep him even if no closer is named by season start?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • batpig says:

      considering there are only 14 teams in the AL, closers are that much more scarce… I would do it. Holland’s ratios should be dominant enough to make him valuable even if he only gets the closer gig 1/2 way through the season and notches 10-15 saves. If he’s the closer the whole way, it’s a steal.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. jon says:

    I had the choice between Holland and Broxton and chose Holland. Remain hopeful.

    Brief interlude: would you take Espinosa or Yunel for an MI spot in a 10-team league with AVG and OPS. I could use the SBs and could pad the average with guys like Votto, Hamilton, Prado, Butler, Holliday – but Espinosa does worry me.

    Thoughts?

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • batpig says:

      Espinosa, no question. Yunel is a much better “real life” player than fantasy, he just doesn’t hit HR or steal bases. Obviously Yuni will beat Espinosa in AVG but he will probably max out at 15 HR+SB, whereas Espinosa will be at least double that. They should be similar overall in the other 3 categories (R, RBI, OPS) so Espinosa’s dominance in HR/SB should outweigh Yunel’s AVG advantage.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. Highway 61* says:

    I had the choice between Holland and Broxton and I chose Broxton. I think Holland is the better pitcher, but I was trying to think like Ned Yost…and I was chasing saves…Holland was taken two picks later…sometimes I hate 5×5 roto.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Guru says:

    You overlook the fact that Broxton is on a 1 year contract. If they make him closer and does well, the Royals could trade him for a nice sum at the trade deadline.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • MTUCache says:

      This is similar to my take on it as well… they signed Broxton in a move that seemed obviously geared to towards trying to flip him if he regained his form.

      I don’t think they need to have Broxton close exclusively by any means, but I think they will make an effort to showcase him somehow. I suppose that could be through a setup role, but I’m thinking that having him close at least part of the time would grab a lot more attention.

      Either way, I see this as more of a function of trade value to the club rather than performance value… the performance of their bullpen is going to have very little impact on their chances of making the postseason this year.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Shoeless_Mike says:

    Keep an eye on Kelvin Herrera. He has gotten some chances to close this spring – I know that doesn’t mean much – but clearly the Royals view him as a late inning guy. With injuries to Soria and Wood I think Herrera will make the 25 man roster and start the season with the Royals. If not, he’ll close in Omaha. He’s got a 96+ mph fastball and a change up a full 13 mph slower. The change up is a work in progress but watch this kid…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Shoeless_Mike says:

    Nice – ad hominem attack, the tool of the troll

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Nyjers in Parris says:

    MTUCache says:
    March 24, 2012 at 1:29 am
    I see this as more of a function of trade value to the club rather than performance value… the performance of their bullpen is going to have very little impact on their chances of making the postseason this year.

    Yeah but you’d think if they were gong to get to the postseason that they’d actually care about winning the close games that they can… hence, having good performances from their bullpen.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  8. FSUJesse says:

    I quickly grabbed him in my which is 6×6 with both saves and holds, figuring he will at least get some holds, and if broxton blows up then grab me some saves too

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. JdeWitt88 says:

    I quickly grabbed him in my which is 6×6 with both saves and holds, figuring he will at least get some holds, and if broxton blows up then grab me some saves too

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. AJ says:

    In the Holland v. Broxton debate, why hasn’t anyone mentioned the fact that Holland has been given 3 saves opps this spring and has locked each down?

    Broxton, on the other hand, has received 0 chances. It’s spring, but this certainly suggests that they favor Holland to take over the role.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>