The Colorado Rockies bullpen was a major question mark heading into the offseason after suffering yet another losing season at 20th and Blake. The Rockies, after blowing 28 saves in 2016 (tied for third worst), needed to find an impact arm at the end of the pen and quick.
They took a gamble on Greg Holland who was a year removed from undergoing Tommy John surgery. And so far, it has paid off.
Holland, 31, is performing at an All-Star caliber level. The veteran reliever is a perfect 16-of-16 in save opportunities, sporting an ERA of 1.08 in 17 innings pitched. Holland has given up just two runs on nine hits over that span, walking five and striking out 23. He is holding the opposition to a .158 batting average with a WHIP of 0.82.
Talk about battled tested.
“I try to stay pretty complacent. You’re going to struggle, you’re going to succeed.” Holland said. “I try to stay as even-keeled as I can because this game will chew you up just about the time you think you’ve got it figured out. I’m very confident every time I’m out there just like everyone in this room is. As soon as you do your job and it’s over with, it’s on to the next one.”
While Holland has been automatic in the closers role for the Rockies. the rest of the bullpen has held their own so far. The team is currently second in the league with 28 holds, trailing Brewers by just one. Colorado’s bullpen currently features an 8-1 record with an ERA of 4.03.
“I think the biggest thing has been the fact that we’ve got everyone down there can pitch.” Holland said. “Buddy has confidence in going to any of us. Being able to do that and have that depth, it keeps guys fresh especially down the stretch.”
Colorado perhaps has the steal of the offseason by signing Holland to anchor the backend of the bullpen. With his success early on, everyone wants to know where he is at in terms of his recovery and how comparable it is from his days in Kansas City.
“Completely different state.” Holland joked. “For me, I feel good. I’ve recovered well. I’m not really concerned about where I was before my surgery or what I am after. I have my job to do and that’s to hold leads, keep guys from scoring and help us win ball games. I’m just worried about doing what I’m called upon to do.”
With wins comes more fan support. Colorado usually draws well regardless of their win/loss record, but the team is currently 9th in the league averaging 33,366 in 23 games. Colorado ranked 11th in the league last season averaging roughly 32,129.
“One of the reasons I signed here was because I said the fan base is so great. That’s what you want as a player.” Holland said. “Coming out and supporting us has been incredible. I’ve enjoyed it. I hope we keep the ball rolling, keep playing well. Keep feeling the stadium up because that’s so exciting. It helps you play better.”