- Greg Holland (Kansas City Royals)
The space between Greg Holland and Craig Kimbrel is getting smaller and smaller. In fact, the space between all three of my top ranked closers is so close that I considered making it a three-way tie. But you didn’t pay good money to read about ties! You didn’t pay good money at all!
I digress. Greg Holland was the first winner of the inaugural Mariano Rivera Award (best reliever) for the American League. He is undoubtedly the best among American league closers. But although it is very close, Greg Holland does not make my top two right now.
Holland has dominated American League pitchers since his rookie year in 2011. He has pitched at least 60 innings in each of his four years and has only had an ERA above 1.80 one time. He became the Royals full-time closer in 2013 and, since then, has closed out 93 Royals wins with a save, blowing only five saves in that time. Over the last two years Holland has had the best ERA and FIP among all relief pitchers (with at least 49 innings pitched).
Even as I am writing this right now, I glance back at Craig Kimbrel to see if I want to switch rankings; but I hold firm to my belief that Kimbrel is better. All three of these players have chances to be All-Time greats, but it is not a guarantee they will all seize those chances.