Let’s Go Dutch

With Matt Harrison out until the All-Star break and Colby Lewis yet to return to the rotation, Derek Holland is your No.2 starter. If you haven’t noticed, he’s pitching like one too.

There was a lot of chatter with regards to Derek in the offseason about cutting down on his impressions, pitching in the World Baseball Classic and whether or not he has the makeup to be a big-time pitcher.

Let’s compare the last two years up to this point (seven starts):

2012: 3-2, 3.86 ERA, 46.2 IP, 39 H, 40 K, 17 BB

2013: 3-2, 2.54 ERA, 49.2 IP, 40 H, 43 K, 10 BB

The switch has been flipped whether it was Derek, Mike Maddux, Wash or a combination of all three; a fire has been ignited in the Ohio native. He has gone at least seven innings in all of his starts except one and given up two runs or less in five starts.

Fun With Narratives

Day in and day out in Twitterverse, I see Ranger fans pick and choose their heroes they root for. It’s a part of sports that is fun to be a part of, but rarely does it make sense. Speak to the average fan and chances are they would tell you that Derek was terrible last season and has been a disappointment to this point in his career. Fans have demanded Holland become more consistent and recognize that he receives a lot of run support. Coming into the season, there wasn’t a wave of fans wanting to be patient with Holland and give him the benefit of the doubt to this point. There was simply disgust and frustration.

Career: Age 26, 4+ seasons, 5.5 rWAR

On the flip side, Mitch Moreland for his career has shown serious power with a solid glove, yet struggled against LHP and has yet to become a consistent guy at the plate. In the offseason, there were plenty of people that want to squint at the stats and stand on their head to be able to find justification for something Mitch Moreland is not: a first-tier 1B.

Career: Age 27, 3+ seasons, 1.5 rWAR

One could argue that Holland has incredible talent and should be expected to be an ace while Mitch is a “gritty” player that simply plays hard. This is the general consensus on Twitter, talk shows, etc.

Holland was drafted in the 25th round of the 2006 draft.

Moreland was drafted in the 17th round of the 2007 draft.

Narratives are fun.

Earn Their Trust

One thing is certain that Holland has to do with Ranger fans: earn their trust. It won’t be done in seven starts or even in half a year, but he needs to be this type of pitcher for the entire season and show up in the postseason.

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

Holland grew up the Rangers organization with Neftali Feliz and both came with high expectations. Feliz has been solid when healthy (6.8 career rWAR), but as former MLB pitcher Mike Bacsik reported on 105.3 the FAN last week, rumors of Feliz lack of effort in rehab and weight gain has caused Rangers brass to be concerned. At this point, I don’t know if we should expect anything from him this year.

If the 2013 Texas Rangers are going to be successful this season, they need another pitcher they can trust to ease the bullpen and give Wash a solid six innings each and every start.

Let’s go Dutch.     

Eddie Middlebrook is the co-host of “Chin Music” and Junior Staff Writer for ShutDowninning. He can be reached at Eddie.Middlebrook@ShutDowninning.com or on Twitter @emiddlebrook

Eddie Middlebrook
Eddie Middlebrook is Senior Writer for @ballparkbanter9 and @shutdowninning. Formerly with @wfaasports and @FoxSportsSW. @IBWAA member. Eddie can be found on Twitter @emiddlebrook.

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