Kansas City Royals closer Greg Holland, who led the Majors with 11 saves during July, has been selected as the winner of the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Month Award for July, marking the first career monthly honor for the right-hander. Holland becomes the second Royals pitcher to win the award (third time), joining Joakim Soria, who received the award in September 2008 and September 2009. This Major League Baseball award recognizes the most outstanding relief pitcher during each month of the regular season as voted on by a panel from Major League Baseball.
Holland converted each of his 11 save opportunities during the month while appearing in 11 games and tossing 11.0 innings. The Marion, North Carolina native posted a 0.82 ERA, permitting one run on nine hits with one walk and 15 strikeouts while holding opposing batters to a .209 batting average. The 10th round pick in the 2007 Draft recorded saves on back-to-back days against the Cleveland Indians on July 3rd and July 4th, allowing a hit with three strikeouts over the 2.0 innings pitched. The 27-year-old also posted saves on consecutive days on July 8th-9th at the New York Yankees; on July 19th-20th against the Detroit Tigers; and on July 27th-28th at the Chicago White Sox. Overall, the 2013 A.L. All-Star has now converted 22 consecutive save opportunities entering play today which ranks third in Royals history, trailing Soria (36 straight in 2010) and Jeff Montgomery (24 consecutive in 1993). For the season, the Western Carolina University product is 2-1 with 29 saves and a 1.67 ERA. In 43.0 innings pitched, he has surrendered 10 runs (eight earned) on 28 hits with 12 walks and 68 strikeouts. Holland needs one more save this season to become the fourth different Royals pitcher with at least 30 saves in a season. He would join Montgomery and Dan Quisenberry, who each accomplished the feat five times, and Soria, who reached the 30-save plateau on three occasions. With 49 career saves, Greg is tied with Steve Farr for seventh on Kansas City's all-time saves list, one behind Mike MacDougal (50) for sixth. Holland's 14.36 strikeouts per 9.0 innings trail only Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman (15.16) among Major League pitchers with at least 40.0 innings. In 2012, Holland set a Royals record with 12.22 strikeouts per 9.0 innings (minimum 60.0 innings).
Other relievers receiving votes included Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel (0-1, 0.90 ERA, 8 SV, 10.0 IP, 2 H, 3 BB, 13 SO); Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour (0-1, 1.64 ERA, 9 SV, 11.0 IP, 8 H, 2 BB, 15 SO); and Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen (2-0, 1.35 ERA, 7 SV, 13.1 IP, 6 H, 3 BB, 15 SO).