Take a Trip to Holland?

After his eight inning, one run, 5/1 K/BB outing Thursday night, fantasy GMs might be thinking about taking a trip to the free agent wire in search of the name Derek Holland.

In 2009, Derek Holland was rated as the 31st best prospect by Baseball America. Over 287 minor league innings, Holland posted a 2.47 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9–That’s damn good. However, his transition to the big leagues has been met with more than a few roadblocks.

Holland made his big league debut at age 22 and pitched 138.1 innings that season, 22 of 33 appearances were starts. That season, Holland ended up with a 6.12 ERA, but a solid 2.28 K/BB rate. Holland’s 2010 was very up-and-down, literally. He pretty much split innings that season between triple-A and the bigs. Overall, in 57.1 major league innings, mostly in a starting role, Holland posted a 4.08 ERA, 8.5 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9.

Entering 2011, Holland finally was going to be given a rotation spot from day-one. In nine starts, his K/BB stands at a fair 2.1, his ERA at 4.37, but his FIP 3.44 and xFIP 3.59 both hint that luck may not be on his side right now. As a matter of fact, Holland seems to have run into at least some bad luck. His BABIP against is .353, though that has come along with a somewhat high 22 percent line drive rate against.

While one look at his FIP might suggest a buy-low, I’d take caution to pay full price for a ticket on that train. Holland has upside and is one bright young talent, that’s for sure, but he’s also struggling to find consistency at the big-league level, looking great one game and struggling with his command the next two.

At the ripe age of 24, Derek Holland is still trying to find his groove in as a major league pitcher. If he can find it this season is yet to be seen. The stuff is there–his average fastball is actually up a tick to 93 MPH so far this season–and his ground ball rate is also showing improvement, now at 48 percent. In deep leagues, Holland should be owned. In 12-team mixed, he’s definitely one to put on your watch list. An improvement in either his strikeout rate or walk rate could push him over the top and make him a very solid SP 5.

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