Cullowhee, N.C. - Former Western Carolina right-handed reliever – and current Colorado Rockies closer – Greg Holland added to his litany of career accomplishments in baseball this week. The Marion, N.C., native was selected to his third Major League Baseball All-Star game as the teams were unveiled on Sunday evening.
Drafted in the 10th round (306th overall pick) of the 2007 MLB First-Year Player Draft on the heels of WCU’s runner-up finish in the NCAA Baseball Chapel Hill Regional, Holland worked his way through the Kansas City Royals farm system before making his big league debut in 2010, bouncing between the minors and the majors for two years. Then, in 2012, Holland had a breakout season, striking out 91 with 16 saves for the Royals.
The following season, as Kansas City’s full-time closer, Holland converted 47 of 50 save opportunities, recording a franchise-record number of annual saves while garnering his first All-Star nod. He just missed his career benchmark with 46 saves in 48 opportunities in 2014 as a part of the Royals’ playoff run, tying a playoff series record with four saves in the American League Championship Series (ALCS) as a part of his playoff record-tying seven saves. That season, he also collected the prestigious inaugural Mariano Rivera Award for his work as a closer.
A total of 32 saves into the 2015 season, Holland suffered a season-ending injury that required Tommy John surgery to his right elbow and forced him to also miss the 2016 season. He was released by Kansas City to become a free agent, finally signing an incentive-laden, one-year contract with the Colorado Rockies in late January of 2017 in what ESPN Senior Write Buster Olney has called “the best free agent move of the offseason.”
Back in a familiar purple-hue, Holland has not disappointed, converting his first 20 save opportunities of the season and twice earning National League Reliever of the Month plaudits. At the time of his selection to the All-Star game, Holland has saved 26 of 27 opportunities with a 1.48 ERA and 40 strikeouts through 30 and a third innings of work.
Originally from Marion, N.C., Holland recorded 19 saves for Western Carolina from 2005-07, currently sixth in program history. He posted 10 career victories in his 82 career appearances, finishing with a 4.22 career ERA through 149.1 innings pitched. He recorded 154 career strikeouts against 70 walks.
In 2007, Holland posted a career-best 10 saves – tied for fourth in the single-season record book – in earning first team All-Southern Conference accolades as the Catamounts claimed a share of the regular season title. He was also named to the SoCon's Spring Academic All-Conference team twice in both 2006 and 2007.
The 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star game is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET on Tuesday, July11 on Fox.