Buy Low Candidate: Is Derek Holland A Great End Game Option?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Derek Holland missed the bulk of 2014 due to a knee injury and when he was on the mound he was less than stellar. Specifically his strikeout rate was seemingly non-existent, with a miniscule 6.08 K/9 over 37.0 innings of work in the Majors.

Is that enough of a reason to ignore him, though? Can we expect him to get back to the pitcher he was prior to the injury? We can’t forget that he was quickly developing into one of the better starters in the league prior to his lost season.

While the strikeouts were down, we have to remember two things:

1) It was a small sample size. We really can’t draw any conclusions, like the strikeout rate is never going to return. He owns a career 7.49 K/9 and can easily get back there.

2) The underlying metrics remained strong. In fact his 37.4% O-Swing% and 10.1% SwStr% both would’ve represented career best marks. Again it’s a small sample size, but it also indicates that his stuff was better than his numbers.

We also can’t ignore the fact that Holland has always shown strong control, with a career 2.85 BB/9. Obviously we don’t buy into his 1.22 mark from a year ago, but it’s certainly good enough to help him produce strong numbers.

He’s not a big-time groundball pitcher, with a career mark of 42.9%. Pitching in Texas that could represent potential home run issues, but he has shown the ability to keep the ball in the ballpark (0.85 HR/9 in 2013) in the past.

It’s easy to forget that he posted a 3.42 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 2013. It also wasn’t a luck related year, considering his 75.1% strand rate and .307 BABIP (22.8% line drive rate). Maybe he doesn’t get quite back to those numbers, and there is an inherent risk given the ballpark and fly ball tendency, but those also aren’t numbers we should simply ignore.

Considering the investment, which is negligible (average ADP IS 233.0, the 69th pitcher coming off the board, he risk is well worth the potential reward. He should have the potential to win games, as well as bring the potential for strikeouts and strong ratios. It shows just how deep pitching is at this point, and also makes hima strong end game play.

Sources – Fangraphs, Fantasy Pros

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One comment

  1. bbboston says:

    Holland has stated he wants to take the next step and recognizes the responsibility of now being his staff’s ace. 2013 he learned to stay focussed while on the mound, which allowed him to not have those blow-up frames. This will be an interesting year for him.

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