Nonetheless, the team looks stronger than ever, with a plethora of young stars on offense like Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer solidifying the middle of the order. The Royals however can not expect to win many games unless they have a stopper and the end of the bullpen who can consistently close games throughout the summer.
Greg Holland will start the season as the club’s closer, and will be a deciding factor on whether or not this team will compete in the AL Central or not. 2012 was a year to remember for Holland who was thrown into the closer role midway through the season and finished with 16 saves. Increases in innings, games finished and strikeouts also came about for Holland in 2012 as he moved from late-relief to closer on August 1st.
He enjoyed a lot of success in 2011 with a 5-1 record and a 1.80 ERA to go alongside a WHIP under 1.00. Moving to the closer role is often a difficult transition however, only four blown saves in his first three months at the position is nothing to frown upon.
Hopefully the acquisition of James Shields will heighten Holland’s save opportunities and he will become more comfortable in the role without anyone looking over his shoulder. Time will tell if the Royals are here to stay in 2013 but, keeping an eye on of the leagues budding closers in Holland is a must.