5 Most Important Kansas City Royals in 2013

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Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Greg Holland (56)Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

5- GREG HOLLAND: As a 27-year old in his fourth season, Greg Holland became one of the top closers in the major leagues, and he left his mark in the Royals record book. The diminutive hurler became one of the biggest power arms, not only for the Royals, but in all of baseball.

Holland’s surface numbers are impressive enough – 1.21 ERA and .866 WHIP – but it was his strikeouts that made him so effective. For the season, Holland struck out 103 batters in just 67 innings. More importantly, he really reduced the walks he issued from 2012. In 2013, he walked just 18 compared to 34 the previous season.

His Strikeout per 9 IP Ratio (K/9) was an incredible 13.8, his Strikeout per Walk Ratio (K/BB) jumped to 5.72 in 2013, more than double the 2.68 mark he had in 2012.

On top of everything else, Holland allowed just 40 hits in his 67 innings.

Holland also saved 47 games, a Kansas City Royals franchise record, in 50 opportunities. Holland solidified a strong bullpen by becoming a shutdown closer. Ned Yost never had to worry about handing the ball over to Holland, and the Royals knew if they could get the game to the ninth with a lead, it was over. Holland was a stud in 2013.