For the first time in a decade, the Royals have more than one player named to the All-Star team. Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez are the first duo to earn the honors since Mike MacDougal and Mike Sweeney in 2003.
While Kansas City fans will enjoy watching Gordon and Perez in the Midsummer Classic, the Royals very easily could have had three All-Stars and some might argue they should. The third potential All-Star is closer Greg Holland, who has been lights out in the ninth inning pretty much all season.
Holland’s stats this year have been impressive. He is 22 of 24 in save opportunities. He sports a whopping 15.4 K/9 with 60 strikeouts in 35.0 innings, good for a tie for first in strikeouts among American League closers. His 22 saves place him fifth in the league. He has converted his past 15 save opportunities and hasn’t blown a save since May 6. And right now, Holland is red hot. In an outstanding start to July, Holland has yet to give up a run in five chances. He has given up two hits over that time, while striking out 10 in five innings.
So, now that we’ve analyzed Holland’s numbers, the question becomes who does he replace on the team. The relievers selected to the American League squad are Mariano Rivera, Joe Nathan, Glen Perkins, Jesse Crain and Brett Cecil.
Holland has a better ERA and WHIP than Rivera. Crain and Cecil are middle relievers who are having excellent seasons. Nathan is having arguably the best season among all American League closers and with the game in New York, Rivera is deserving of his spot in his final season. That leaves Perkins.
Perkins has had a very good year and AL manager Jim Leyland took notice, especially after Perkins has notched four saves this year against Leyland’s Tigers. But if you compare Holland with Perkins, it seems the Royals hurler may have been the better pick. Holland has a better ERA, more strikeouts and more saves. Both have blown only two save opportunities and Perkins has a slightly better WHIP. It may be splitting hairs, because Perkins has had a great year and it’s not always exclusively about the numbers (Leyland has seen Perkins more than Holland this year).
However, Holland has an excellent case for being the third member of the Royals in New York City next week.
Holland isn’t dwelling on his omission from the roster.
“It just didn’t happen,” Holland told the Kansas City Star. “There were a lot of guys who didn’t make it who were deserving too. So you’ve just got to move on. I thought I was deserving of consideration, and I imagine I got some. It’s tough to pick a team. That’s part of it.”
He still could be selected to the team should Leyland need to make an injury replacement. But, if not, Holland will enjoy the days off and hope he can continue his torrid July pace.