KC Royals Exec Scott Sharp Scouts Greg Holland Showcase

The KC Royals sent assistant GM Scott Sharp to attend former closer Greg Holland’s Monday workout in Arizona. Also in attendance were representatives from the Marlins, Phillies, Yankees, Rangers, and Twins.

I must confess, I was surprised at the low interest in Greg Holland‘s showcase. I mean, really, how is it that only six teams bothered to show up for a guy that won the Mariano Rivera award in 2014 as the American League’s best reliever and almost everyone scouted Tim Tebow. I’m sorry, but that’s crazy.

Hello. Greg Holland is far and away more likely to help your team.

Yes, Greg Holland had Tommy John surgery in 2015. Around 67% of first-time Tommy John survivors will pitch in at least 10 games in their first season after surgery. Certainly, that stat will give you pause. However, the good news is that performance declines for such pitchers are no worse than the age-related decay showed by similarly aged pitchers who didn’t have surgery.

Greg Holland was still an effective reliever even pitching with his injury in 2015 when he posted a 3.83 ERA and a 9.9 K/9 with 32 saves. Given that Holland will be 31 in 2017, he’s more likely than not to be a bullpen force next season.

Given how post-season baseball in recent seasons has highlighted the benefit of a deep pen, I find it difficult to explain the lack of interest in Holland’s workout. Perhaps Scott Sharp said it best when he told MLB.com:

“It’s tough to evaluate in November,” Sharp said.

According to Jeffrey Flanagan’s story at MLB.com, Holland’s fastball sat between 88 to 91 mph. That’s close to where he was throwing in late 2015 before doctors diagnosed his torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Even still, if Holland can return to form, he’s one of the top 5 to 10 relievers in the game. Holland has saved 142 games in 309 outings, with a 2.42 ERA and 12.1 K/9. Holland enjoyed two straight seasons with an ERA below 2.00 in 2013-14 when he saved 47 and 46 games.

To me, the reason for the poor turnout has to be that most pitchers aren’t going to be anywhere close to game ready in November. Another reason might be that most teams presume that Holland will re-sign with Kansas City. In the end, Holland will only become a target for most teams after top options like Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Kenley Jansen sign.

Hopefully, the KC Royals will have already locked Holland into a deal before then. But, Kansas City Royals fans shouldn’t count on it. If I’ve analyzed his market correctly, then Holland’s agent will want to sign later in the process to improve his demand.

Unfortunately, such a tactic would handcuff KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore’s chances of flipping Wade Davis for starting pitching this winter.

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