DEREK HOLLAND, LEFT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: October 9, 1986
Drafted: 25th Round, 748th Overall, 2006 (Rangers)
How Acquired: Minor league free agent
College: Wallace State (AL) CC
Agent: Martini Sports Management
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Holland was drafted out of junior college and signed as a draft-and-follow. He made it through the Rangers’ system quickly, reaching the majors after only one full season in the minors. Holland has usually pitched well in the majors when he’s been healthy, but he’s been plagued by health issues, often shoulder-related. He’s a flyball pitcher and, when he’s struggled, it’s generally been due in large part to gopher balls. He’s also had control problems in some recent seasons. Holland was a starter throughout his career until 2019.
Holland throws the standard four pitches, although he didn’t use his curve or change much when he was pitching in relief in 2019. His fastball sat at 93-94 in 2011-13, but it’s decreased to 91-92 in the last few years. His slider was his best pitch for much of his career, but he increased his use of it sharply as a reliever and it wasn’t as effective. Over his career he’s had a large platoon split, holding left-handed hitters to a .622 OPS while allowing .814 to right-handed hitters.
Holland signed nearly a year after he was drafted, under the old draft-and-follow system. He pitched well in his debut, with strong walk and K rates.
Holland shot through three levels of the minors, dominating in all three. His velocity increased to the mid-90s, getting as high as 97-98. Baseball America rated him the Rangers’ second best prospect after the season.
After one start in AAA, the Rangers called Holland up. He started off pitching in relief, but eventually joined the rotation. He doesn’t seem to have been ready for the majors, as he struggled throughout the season. Gopher balls were especially a problem, as he allowed 26, which is why his xFIP (4.32) was much lower than his ERA.
The Rangers sent Holland back to AAA to open the season and he dominated there. Texas called him up in May, but after five outings he missed two months with rotator cuff inflammation. He eventually worked his way back to the majors in August. He pitched reasonably well in the majors, doing a much better job of keeping the ball in the park.
Holland had a strong season with the Rangers, with a better than average ERA in a strong hitters ballpark. Before the start of the next season, Holland signed a five-year contract extension that also included options for 2017 and 2018.
Holland was hampered again by shoulder problems, this time fatigue, and missed a month in the middle of the season. He didn’t have as good a season as the year before, but he pitched better after returning from the injury.
Holland had his best season, although it wasn’t reflected in his record. He earned 4.1 fWAR and threw a career high total of innings.
Because of knee surgery, Holland missed all but the last month of the season, excluding rehab assignments. He pitched very well once he returned.
Injuries were a problem again, as Holland went out in mid-April with a shoulder strain. He returned to the majors in late August, making only ten starts there on the season. He had gopher ball problems, allowing 11.
This time, Holland missed the second half of the season with shoulder inflammation. He had a strong first month, but struggled badly before going on the disabled list. After the season, Texas declined his option, making him a free agent. The White Sox signed him to a major league deal for 2017.
Holland got off to a strong start for the White Sox. Through May, he had an ERA of 2.37. From the start of June through early September he had an ERA of 9.32. He had major control problems, allowing 31 on the season, 23 over his last 74.1 IP. He also lost the strike zone completely in August, walking 27 in 28 innings. The Sox released him on September 5. He signed a minor league deal with the Giants for 2018.
Holland made the Giants’ roster out of spring training and he had a good season, pitching mostly as a starter. His control recovered from the previous year, he cut his HR rate in half, and he had a career high K rate. After the season he became a free agent, but signed for 2019 with the Giants, with an option for 2020.
Holland struggled through the early season and the Giants moved him to the bullpen in early May. He pitched a little better in relief, but the Giants designated him for assignment in late July and traded him to the Cubs. He pitched decently in relief for them, but gave up seven runs in four innings in a start in a meaningless game on the last day of the season. On the year, he again had control problems. The Cubs declined his option after the season, making him a free agent.
The Pirates signed Holland to a minor league deal for 2020 and, as expected, he was given a spot in the rotation and added to the roster. It didn’t work out at all. Holland struck out a lot of batters, possibly due to increased use of his change and curve, but he was among the hardest-hit pitchers in MLB. He gave up nearly a home run every three innings and opponents slugged .540 against him. The Pirates removed him from the rotation after five starts. They followed their traditional pattern of catering to non-performing veterans, though, and continued pitching him in relief the rest of the year rather than going with prospects.
Holland will be a free agent after the season and will move on.
|Signing Bonus: $200,000
MiLB Debut: 2007
MLB Debut: 4/22/2009
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2020
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 4/18/2009
Options Remaining: 0
MLB Service Time: 11.104
|June 7, 2006: Drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 25th round, 748th overall pick; signed on May 20, 2007.
April 18, 2009: Contract purchased by the Texas Rangers.
November 27, 2016: Became a free agent.
December 14, 2016: Signed as a free agent by the Chicago White Sox.
September 5, 2017: Released by the Chicago White Sox.
February 9, 2018: Signed as a minor league free agent by the San Francisco Giants.
March 26, 2018: Called up by the San Francisco Giants.
October 29, 2018: Became a free agent.
January 14, 2019: Signed as a free agent by the San Francisco Giants.
July 21, 2019: Designated for assignment by the San Francisco Giants.
July 26, 2019: Traded by the San Francisco Giants to the Chicago Cubs for cash considerations.
November 2, 2019: Became a free agent.
January 31, 2020: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
July 23, 2020: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.