Derek Holland has been backed by an elite offense for his entire career, which would explain his 39-29 career record (57.4 W%) despite a 4.71 ERA and 4.48 FIP. It will be interesting to see how the Rangers’ offense operates without Josh Hamilton in the middle of the order, but Holland should be someone you can count on him for double-digit wins almost every year.
In 2012, he went 9-0 in starts where he allowed three or fewer runs. He also earned two wins in starts where he allowed seven and five runs against the Angels and Rays, respectively. Somewhere, Cliff Lee is jealous.
However, none of this helped his home run problem as his 1.64 HR/9 last year was the main culprit of his ERA ballooning up to 4.67 (4.06 career ERA). Despite posting a solid 1.22 WHIP, which is his career-best by far, Holland regressed from his promising 2011 season and he only has the home runs to blame.
He’s going into his fifth pro season and now has two horrible home run seasons (combined 1.66 HR/9) sandwiching two successful ones (combined 0.99 HR/9).
At a Glance
Strengths: IP, W, K
Neutral: QS, L, BB, WHIP, OBA
Weaknesses: ERA, HR/9
Best-case scenario: Anibal Sanchez (DET)
Likely scenario: Phil Hughes (NYY), Mike Minor (ATL), Matt Garza (CHC)
Worst-case scenario: Ervin Santana (KC)
Derek Holland 2013 Fantasy Projection
It’s clear that Holland’s value comes and goes with how well he can control home runs. Last year, his batted ball profile trended away from his promising 2011 line (20.0 LD%/46.4 GB%/33.6 FB%). He induced fewer ground balls (43.1%), more fly balls (40.1%) and had a career worst 15.2% HR/FB. That’s a recipe for disaster.
That being said, there is still cause for optimism; Holland has made nice strides in controlling his walks, going down from 3.77 BB/9 in 2010 to 3.05 in 2011 and finally 2.67 in 2012. During that span his strikeout rate has decreased some, but it landed at a respectable level (7.44 K/9) last year. Also, his 4.14 xFIP (which normalizes for home runs) shows some of his ERA potential (I feel weird calling that potential, but I digress) if he can keep his home runs under control.
We could be looking at a top-25 pitcher if everything falls in the right place in 2013, which is why he’s a decent flier late in your draft in hopes of him correcting his home run problem.