Derek Holland has been a star in the minors but has yet to reach that status at the major league level. Taken by the Rangers in the 25th round he began his pro career in low-A and struck out 11.1 per 9 with a 3.22 ERA. 2008 brought stiffer competition and even better results. A shining 2.27 combined ERA with peripherals to match meant he would spend 2009 in the majors where he was ripped apart to the tune of a 6.12 ERA. The Rangers decided to take it slower with Holland last season as he split time between the majors and AAA and looked good at both levels. Heading into 2011 he has likely earned himself a spot in the rotation which could make him a solid sleeper option in 2011.
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Many will remember Derek Holland for his control meltdown in the World Series and that performance may have driven his stock down. His command in the majors has been poor but he has shown plus control in the minors. Whether or not he finds his old ability to keep the ball in the strike zone will be the main determination of his success.
Pitching in Texas isn't going to help him keep the ball in the yard but he has shown the ability to avoid home runs at the lower levels with a minor league career 0.5 HR/9. Last season in the homer happy Pacific Coast League he held opponents to 0.7 HR/9 while limiting them to 0.9 in the majors.
Holland is showing an increasing ability to strike out major league hitters so there is reason to believe he could have a K/9 around 8. I expect something around 7.7 K/9 as he transfers a few strikeouts for less walks and brings that BB/9 below 3. If he keeps his HR/9 under 1 he looks like he can be counted on for a low 4 ERA that has a chance at dipping into the threes. With 180 innings he could give you 155+ strikeouts. Match those numbers with the Texas Rangers offense and you could be getting a few wins added to your end of year tally.
In keeper leagues his value is driven up by the fact he is on a contending team for the foreseeable future and looks to have a rotation spot. Holland is unlikely to go before the final few picks and is one of the better risks to take.