By all accounts the Texas Rangers currently have the best minor league system in baseball. They are just loaded with front end prospects. This week the Rangers started dipping into that loaded system and called up LHP Derek Holland.
So far the Rangers have used Holland in a relief role which I absolutely love. Instead of just throwing him into the fire, let Holland get his feet wet by pitching a couple of innings at a time. The Blue Jays did this with Halladay and the Twins did this with Santana. I think it worked out well for both of them and Holland is off to a good start giving up just 1 run and 4 hits in 5.1 IP.
I had the opportunity to watch Holland pitch on Saturday night against the Orioles and he showed a good fastball that was between 90-93 and a pretty decent slider which was around 83. Holland also has a change that he threw around 80 mph but doesn’t look to be a strike out pitch at the major league level just yet.
With Holland being left handed and with his long arm motion he reminds me of former Braves pitcher, Steve Avery.
Here are some other facts about Derek Holland….
Wallace State Community College
25th Round of the 2006 Draft
Minor League Stats
Single A-: 4-5 with a 3.22 era, 57 H and 83 K’s in 67 IP
Single A: 7-0 with a 2.40 era, 77 H and 91 K’s in 93.2 IP
Single A+: 3-1 with a 3.19 era, 20 H, just 5 walks and 37 K’s in 31 IP
Double A: 3-0 with a 0.69 era, 14 H and 29 K’s in 26 IP
Keith Law Ranking and Analysis
Ranking: #21 out of 100 best prospects in baseball
Analysis: “Holland’s isn’t the biggest jump on to the list this year, but it might be the most surprising. Texas wasn’t on Holland when he was in junior college until they saw him at the NJCAA World Series a few weeks before the 2006 draft, and they took a flier on him in the 25th round as a draft and follow. His velocity has since increased; he was 88-91 mph the following spring, then was 90-93 in the summer of ’07 in Spokane. By the middle of 2008, he was already in Double-A, sitting 93-95 and touching 98, with natural bore and cut to the pitch and uncanny command. His changeup is already an above-average pitch, and he held right-handed hitters to a .215/.268/.305 line across three levels this year. His slider is still a work in progress, but it’s improving, and he has enough command and deception to get left-handed hitters out in the minors. He doesn’t have the raw upside of Feliz, but he’s not far behind him in potential and is ahead of him in command and feel for pitching, and is the most likely of Texas’ horde (pun intended) of pitching prospects to contribute to the big club in 2009. “