Despite a flurry of moves at the trade deadline, the Washington Nationals still need bullpen help. The front office brought back a familiar face in an attempt to fix this issue. Veteran Greg Holland and Washington came to terms on a minor league deal.
Nats are finalizing a deal with veteran reliever Greg Holland, per source. He'll be in D.C. tomorrow for a physical. If he passes, he'll report either to Fresno or Harrisburg, not clear yet which. (@JamalCollier first reported they were close, @JonHeyman first reported deal)
— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) August 13, 2019
For the second year in a row, Holland is joining the team after being released. Last season he was cut by the St. Louis Cardinals after he posted a 7.92 ERA in 25 innings. Washington picked him up and Holland went on to post a 0.84 ERA in 21 1/3 innings with the Nats. This year Holland was let go by the Arizona Diamondbacks after he posted a 4.54 ERA in 35 2/3 innings. Mike Rizzo is hoping the team can fix Holland once again, but is that a reasonable expectation? Here is what National fans should expect from Holland moving forward.
What to expect
On July 22 Holland had an ERA of 3.00. In his next five starts, he gave up seven runs and walked six in 2 2/3 innings. Arizona decided they had seen enough and designated him for assignment shortly after. Holland’s July struggles have coincided with a drop in his velocity and an increase in walks. Last season his fastball regularly reached 93-94 mph. However this year his fastball has started to drop to 90-91 mph. Usually, a drastic drop in velocity is due to an injury and if that is the case Holland might land on the IL in the near future.
This season, Holland has a K/BB of 1.71 and a BB/9 of 6.1 which are both the second-worst in his career. He set career lows in both categories last season. If Holland is called up from the minors, he will be reunited with pitching coach Paul Menhart who last season was the Nationals′ minor-league pitching coordinator. Menhart is now Washington’s pitching coach and has turned the Nationals pitchers around. He will be tasked with trying to tweak Holland’s mechanics and help lower his walks and increase his swinging strike rate.
Now, despite his combined decrease in velocity and increase in walks, Holland still has stuff left in the tank. According to Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors, “On the positive side, Holland has seemingly been good at limiting contact. Statcast credits him with a .292 xwOBA-against and excellent .192 batting average against, though he is allowing more hard contact (36.8%) and greater exit velocity (89.3 mph) than ever before. Keeping opponents from getting aboard by way of base knocks is particularly important for Holland since his walk rate is over 15% for the second consecutive year.”
Holland is unlikely to post another sub 1.00 ERA with Washington, but if he can limit his walks then he should have another successful stint with the team.
Feature Image From MLB Trade Rumors.
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