Derek Holland has one of the worst pornstaches in the history of baseball. He's also goofy (aren't all lefties?). He's also been a solid arm who has failed to live up to expectations for the Rangers. Consider that last point rectified (he's still goofy and has a dumb mustache though).
*** Note, my thoughts on the massive Fielder/Kinsler deal can be found below.
Holland won 10 games in 2013. That's his lowest mark in three years yet he pitched better in 2013 than at any point in his career. I've mentioned before how you shouldn't be looking at wins to judge a hurler right? I mean Joe Saunders won 11 games in 2013. Nothing else needs to be said about victories.
Holland posted a 3.42 ERA. His previous best was 3.95. He had the best SIERA (3.81) and xFIP (3.68) of his career as well which bodes well for his chance to potentially post another 3.50-ish ERA in 2014.
Holland posted a 1.29 WHIP. That mark is below his 1.33 career rate, but it's also just a couple of hundredths below the AL average and it was seven hundredths higher than his 2012 effort (1.22).
Holland posted a 7.99 K/9 mark. In his previous two full seasons on the bump his K/9 mark was 7.36 and 7.44. A half batter improvement is nice to see, and given his overall skill set it seems reasonable to expect a repeat effort in 2014.
Holland walked 2.70 batters per nine innings. That mark was just slightly off his career best 2.67 rate from 2012.
Holland has a 1.12 GB/FB ratio in 2013. That marks was three hundredths below his career mark.
Holland had a .307 BABIP in 2013. That's a hair below his .297 career mark.
Add all of that together and we can draw the following conclusions.
(1) Holland is a pretty stable lefty even though he pitches in a hitter's park in the AL. Moreover, his home (3.53 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) and road (3.32 and 1.26) splits in 2013 were very comparable.
(2) Holland doesn't do anything extremely well, but he's swell across the board (a goofy term for a goofy hurler).
(3) Even given point #2, Holland is a very solid hurler. A 7.99 K/9, 2.95 K/BB ratio and 1.12 GB/FB ratio are all passable totals. When you add in a career best 0.85 HR/9 mark (career 1.22) things start to get a bit interesting. At the same time it's not at all certain that he will be able to retain his newfound success in keepin' the ball in the yard, which is especially true when you note that his 8.8 HR/F ratio last season was a good deal below his career 12.0 percent mark. It should also be noted that the owner of a 71 percent left on base percentage which is smack dab on the league average, Holland saw that mark grow to 75.1 percent in 2013. Its certainly possible that number recedes to close to his average, an if that's the case his outlook is a wee bit dimmed (especially in the ERA category).
It's very reasonable to posit that Holland will win more than 10 games in 2014. It's reasonable to posit that the will once again toss 200 innings. It's reasonable to posit another 175 Ks.
Will Holland's ERA remain below 3.50 and will he be able to lower his WHIP a bit? That will be the difference between Holland being a solid and very strong fantasy option in 2014. Don't overbid, but it's not a bad thing at all if Holland ends up as a depth play out of your starting rotation.
BLOCKBUSTER DEAL: FIELDER FOR KINSLER
The Rangers receive Prince Fielder. The Tigers receive Ian Kinsler. Fielder is owed $168 million for the next seven years. Kinsler is owed $57 million for the next four years. (There is a $10 million option, with $5 million buyout, in 2018). *The Rangers will also receive $30 million.
Wow. An actual blockbuster. Some quick thoughts.
Fielder has missed one game in five years. I love that (how many fantasy seasons are ruined each year cause of injury?). For the last eight years he's hit at least 25 homers. The only two players to reach 25 in all of those years are Fielder and... Mr. Cabrera. Fielder has also driven in at least 80 runs each of those eight years. Only he, Cabrera and Adrian Gonzalez are in that group. I know Fielder had his “worst” season since 2007, but it's not like .279-25-106-82 effort is all that bad. Look for him to have a clear head in his new home, for his walk rate to inch back, for his strikeouts to go down a bit, and for his power to increase. He's gonna be in a great ball yard for offense, and his 13.5 percent HR/F ratio from last season was the first time under 17.9 percent since 2006 an a career worst number (19.2 percent). He could easily match his 2011 numbers from his last year in Milwaukee (.299-38-120).
Kinsler is no longer a 30/30 option. I doubt he's a 20/20 threat anymore (he's hit an average of 16 homers the last two years while averaging 18 steals the past two seasons). He's also always an injury concern though his total of 136 games played last season was a three year low. He's only hit .280 in once of hit last five seasons. But he has drive in at least 70 runs his last five seasons of 120 games, and he's scored at least 85 runs in each of those seasons as well. Hitting in front of Mr. Cabrera doesn't figure to change that much.
Miguel Cabrera will be moved back to first base giving him dual position eligibility which is a nice boost and pretty much locks him in to being the #2 man drafted behind Mike Trout in every league. Losing Prince's presence could lead to even a few more free passes for Miggy but from @jasoncollete there is this: “In two seasons before Fielder joined DET, Miggy saw strikes 58.1% of the time. Last two seasons, 60.9%. OPS: 1.038 vs 1.037.”
Nick Castellanos will likely be given a shot to open up the year as the Tigers starter at third base. An elite level prospect, Nick hit .276 with 18 homers, 76 RBIs and 81 runs scored in 134 games at Triple-A last season. He could easily find himself heavily involved in the AL ROY race.
Jurickson Profar will now be inserted into the daily lineup for the Rangers. He will likely be over-drafted based on his potential. Still not going to be an elite fantasy player in my opinion in 2014. Also check where he qualifies, he only played 18 games at shortstop last season for the Rangers.
By Ray Flowers
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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