Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain

Dutch
Do you know Derek Lane Holland? The Dutch Oven? You know, that hard throwing left hander for the Rangers? The only one who hasn’t been on the disabled list? The one guy on the team that we all complain about because he:

  1. is inconsistent
  2. is a goof ball
  3. loses focus
Do you know that guy? I do. I remember him during the 2012 season. That guy is gone. The 2012 Derek Holland has left the building, hopefully never to return. What we are left with is the 2013 version in which Derek is none of the above. Well, he is still a goof, but on a lesser scale in the media. The 2013 Derek Holland is focused and consistent. Holland is driven this season.

But we as Ranger fans don’t see it that way. We ignore the fact that Holland has been one of the best pitchers in the game this year and focus on every negative. Even on Saturday night after giving up one run…one run to a team that has Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Victor Martinez, this is what we say:

“Really neat inning, Derek. Way to get that #SDI.”

That’s a sarcastic quote from one of our own writers. Never mind the fact that Holland gave up exactly zero runs in the other six innings. But that is the narrative we choose to spew during Holland starts. We pick over all of Derek’s negatives like a vulture on a dead carcass. A Rangers beat writer even got into the act on Saturday night, bagging on Holland who walked the 9th place hitter. Of course it was the leadoff hitter, and he corrected himself, but he was quick on the “send” button on Twitter. It’s not just the media, it is most of us.

The most often used term I’ve seen this year to describe Holland is: maddening. Maddening?  I wonder what we would say if Holland really was bad. Not every pitcher is going to have his great stuff every night. Every pitcher takes one on the chin from time to time. But it seems that unless Derek throws a shutout or strikes out 10 in a blowout, he’s maddening, inconsistent and not focused.

There are a few misconceptions out there:

  • Derek struggles against the bottom of the order
Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB BAbip
Batting 7th 19 55 51 1 8 2 0 1 2 0 3 16 5.33 .157 .204 .255 .459 13 .206
Batting 8th 19 54 49 8 14 4 0 2 0 0 4 9 2.25 .286 .333 .490 .823 24 .308
Batting 9th 19 51 46 2 7 0 0 0 0 1 2 18 9.00 .152 .188 .152 .340 7 .250
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2013.
  • Derek can’t put hitters away


Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB BAbip
0-2 Count 18 51 51 2 10 4 0 0 0 0 0 28 .196 .196 .275 .471 14 .435
1-2 Count 19 83 83 3 11 3 0 0 0 0 0 52 .133 .133 .169 .301 14 .355
2-2 Count 18 56 56 1 8 1 0 0 0 0 0 25 .143 .143 .161 .304 9 .258
Full Count 19 65 47 5 14 3 1 1 0 0 18 16 0.89 .298 .492 .468 .960 22 .433
Two Strikes 19 255 237 11 43 11 1 1 3 0 18 121 6.72 .181 .239 .249 .488 59 .365
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2013.
Obviously, Holland with a 3-2 count is concerning. But he does for the most part, put hitters away with 2 strikes.
  • Derek melts down late in games


Split G IP ER ERA AB R H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
7th inning 13 11.1 3 2.38 41 3 8 1 0 1 5 13 .195 .283 .293 .575
8th inning 3 3.0 0 0.00 11 0 2 0 0 0 0 4 .182 .182 .182 .364
9th inning 1 1.0 0 0.00 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2013.
Granted, that’s a short sample, but when he gets there, he’s effective.
  • Holland is ineffective against good teams


Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS TB BAbip
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2 52 46 8 12 3 0 1 1 1 5 12 2.40 .261 .327 .391 .718 18 .324
Baltimore Orioles 1 35 30 5 10 1 0 1 0 0 3 7 2.33 .333 .394 .467 .861 14 .409
Boston Red Sox 2 56 52 2 15 2 0 0 0 0 4 13 3.25 .288 .339 .327 .666 17 .385
Detroit Tigers 2 53 45 5 13 3 0 2 1 0 8 13 1.63 .289 .396 .489 .885 22 .367
New York Yankees 1 29 27 0 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 7 3.50 .074 .138 .074 .212 2 .100
Oakland Athletics 1 25 23 4 8 3 0 0 0 0 1 5 5.00 .348 .360 .478 .838 11 .421
St. Louis Cardinals 1 28 23 4 4 4 0 0 0 0 3 4 1.33 .174 .269 .348 .617 8 .211
Tampa Bay Rays 1 33 28 2 5 2 0 0 0 0 3 4 1.33 .179 .250 .250 .500 7 .200
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/14/2013.
Let me show you something else:

Derek Holland in 2013 (qualified starters)

  • 2nd in MLB in HR/9 allowed (0.6)
  • 7th in MLB in ERA+ (141)
  • 7th in MLB in strike outs (121)
  • 9th in MLB in K/9 (8.7)
  • 7th in MLB in Innings Pitched (125 2/3)
  • 8th in MLB in ERA (3.08)
  • 6th in MLB in FIP (2.87)
  • 6th in MLB in fWAR (3.8)
  • 9th in MLB in bWAR (3.0)


Holland is not an ace. He may turn into one someday, but he isn’t there yet, and he may never be. I’ll take the current version any day of the week and twice on Sunday. In the meantime, sit back, relax, grab your favorite beverage and enjoy the young left hander for your Texas Rangers being a top 10 pitcher.

Patrick Despain is the CEO and Co-Founder of ShutDown Inning. He can be reached at Patrick.Despain@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @ShutDownInning
Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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