Greg Holland taking over as Royals’ closer

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The Royals dealt closer Jonathan Broxton to the Reds about 30 minutes before this afternoon’s trade deadline. And now it’s time for a fresh face to begin handling save opportunities in Kansas City.

Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star spoke Tuesday with Royals manager Ned Yost, who named Greg Holland the club’s next ninth-inning man.

Holland hasn’t recorded a save this season, but the 26-year-old right-hander has a 3.19 career ERA and has fanned 153 batters in 118 1/3 MLB innings. He possesses a dominant arsenal, and is capable of shining down the stretch.

The Royals’ return for Broxton was lefty Donnie Joseph, who has a 1.72 ERA and 68/17 K/BB ratio in 52 1/3 innings this season in the minors, and J.C. Sulbaran, a right-hander whose numbers are less inspiring.

Braves’ prospect Ronald Acuna wins AFL MVP, helps clinch AFL Championship Game

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The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.

At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.

Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.

From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.

Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.