Late bloomer Holland honed skills in North Carolina

Greg Holland, RP, Royals
Hometown: Morganton, N.C.

You might not guess it by his mind-boggling statistics, but Greg Holland was not a born closer.

The Royals' dominant ninth-inning man derives from McDowell High School, where his underwhelming repertoire left him only one Division I college offer: Western Carolina.

He used his three years as a Catamount to add speed on his fastball and hone his fall-off-the-mound delivery that now leaves opposing hitters in knots.

Holland is the only former McDowell High School baseball player to reach the Majors. Twins reliever Jared Burton also attended Western Carolina.

Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.