I think it’s safe to say that the Rangers pitching staff was slightly affected by injuries in 2013. Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and Colby Lewis all missed most of or the entire season. Adding these guys to a staff led by ace Yu Darvish should definitely help them out this season, but they will still have to figure out how to beat the A’s if they’re going to win the AL West.
If you want to see a preview of my player profiles, here is my breakdown of Derek Holland:
The Rangers caught a tough break when Holland suffered a left knee injury in January. He had microfracture surgery and the Rangers are hoping to have him back mid season. Last year, Derek had his best season in the majors. His command (2.7) was in line with 2012 and he showed growth in his K rate (8.0). Best of all was his improvement in limiting HR’s (0.8 per 9 innings – lowest of his career). As well as he pitched, he didn’t dominate either RH (.258) or LH (.265) batters. After 27 starts last season, Holland had a 2.95 ERA and allowed 2 runs or less in 15 games. He started to allow more walks in July through his first start in September (32 in 72.7 innings – 4.0 walk rate). His declining command led to a bad end to the year, allowing 18 runs and 39 base runners over 19.3 innings – 8.38 ERA. His AFB (93.6) was stronger than 2012. Derek’s slider gained value at the expense of his curveball. Additionally, he also threw a solid changeup. Batters crushed his sinker (.354 – 724 pitches), while they only hit .158 against his slider (758 pitches). Holland has a nice developing arm, but his two seam fastball needs to make a step forward. Anyone that has microfracture surgery scares me as the time table to return is always slow. Possible upside after the All Star break, but he could be a tough carry if there is any negative news this spring.