Derek Holland and Ridiculous Expectations
“I’m sorry” – Wrigley
Since Ian Kinsler left via trade in late 2013, the Dutch Oven has been the most polarizing player on the Texas Rangers. So what prompts fans to call for the front office to demand Holland to be demoted, traded or designated for assignment over and over again?
Before we give you a several reasons for the Holland hate, let’s do an exercise. Look at these two oft-injured starters’ numbers for their Rangers career:
Player A: 76-65, 4.65 ERA, 95 ERA+, 4.38 FIP, 7.2 K/9 and 8.6 bWAR in 9 seasons
Player B: 60-45, 4.29 ERA, 102 ERA+, 4.19 FIP, 7.3 K/9 and 10 bWAR in 8 seasons
Clearly, while both players are similar, Player B holds the edge.
You probably know by now, but Player A is Colby Lewis and Player B is Derek Holland. While Lewis is adored by nearly all Rangers fans, while it appears Holland’s followers are fewer than House Mormont’s able soldiers.
Come Let Us Count the Ways
Let’s take a look at a few reasons (other than stupidity):
- Personality: Media and fans alike say they like to see players have fun and give interesting interviews until said players actually do. Derek is a great example of this as he does fun radio interviews, in-game interviews and even the weather for WFAA-TV. Oh and the impressions. How could we forget to mention the impressions? Much like what they did with Kinsler, the local media tends to make more of Holland having fun to incite readers and viewers alike.
- Injuries: Shortly after Kinsler was traded for Prince Fielder, the reports came out that Holland had tripped over his dog, Wrigley, and would miss much of the 2014 season. Three straight seasons of 175+ innings were now a distant memory as fans were incensed at Holland, but more so out Wrigley. Is this the face of a monster? A shoulder injury derailed Derek’s 2015 season as he was limited to only 10 starts.
- Unreasonable Expectations: Holland was on several top 100 prospects list in 2009 including No. 40 by Baseball Prospectus and No. 31 by Baseball America. Derek was considered anywhere from a top-of-the-rotation starter to a No. 3 starter. It would seem that the Holland haters are folks who had hopes that he would become at least a No. 2 in a solid rotation, but his numbers to this point in his career (only 29) would suggest he has been more of a No. 4.
Come Let Us Reason Together
Holland is a home-grown pitcher the Rangers haven’t been able to find on a regular basis in their history. While he is not a TORP, his value for a 25th-round pick is like hitting Powerball for the Rangers front office. Consider that he is the only MLB player that came out of the 25th round in the 2006 Amateur draft. Also, he is one of only six players the Rangers drafted that year who eventually made their way to the majors. Out of those six, he is second in value to only Chris Davis (15.9 bWAR) who was drafted in the 5th round. The only other notable player is Craig “KittenFace” Gentry who was drafted in the 12th round and has been worth 8.8 wins in his career.
While Holland’s 2016 season has not seen him return to pre-injury form of 2013, he has shown signs of improving. After Sunday’s 3-2 win over Seattle, Holland has four consecutive starts of at least six innings of work and two or less runs allowed. He also had a season-high six strikeouts. Derek’s 2016 numbers are marred by back-to-back terrible starts in which he allowed 15 earned runs in five innings of work. In his other nine starts, he has a combined 2.47 ERA.
The Dutch Oven’s 4.28 FIP is not impressive, but it does lead among Rangers starters who have pitched more than six starts. It is reasonable to expect Cole Hamels (4.88), Martin Perez (4.48) and the aforementioned Colby Lewis (4.32) to regress at the season goes on, but Holland’s ERA should continue to drop.
Come Let Us Think Before We Tweet
While it is always important to respect Twitter’s Rule No. 1, if we feel the need during a Derek Holland start, let’s remember the above numbers and give Wrigley a pass.
Until next time: