We continue our ranking of the top 10 Texas Rangers with a look at the No. 2 starter.
No. 5: Derek Holland
2014 stats: 2-0, 1.46 ERA (in five starts), 37 IP, 6.1 K/9
2015 projected stats: 12-11, 4.17 ERA, 7.28 K/9, 2.1 WAR
AL West rank: This is a pretty competitive spot in the rotation. Scott Kazmir (190⅓ innings) was an All-Star with Oakland in 2014, while Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma went 3-0 against Texas. Then we have Jered Weaver (18 wins, 213⅓ innings), who is a top-tier starter for the Angels. Holland’s ability to win against these pitchers will determine plenty in 2015, particularly if the Rangers can contend for the division title.
Outlook: The Rangers missed Holland's presence this past season, and though there were plenty of critics regarding how he suffered a serious knee injury -- the left-hander tripped over his dog at home in January 2014 -- his efforts on the mound give you confidence he'll produce a solid 2015 season. Fully recovered from microfracture surgery, Holland projects as a double-digit winner. Will 12 wins be enough? Not for Texas to capture the division. Holland needs at least 14 victories, combined with the high total expected of staff ace Yu Darvish, to get the Rangers back in the hunt. The 28-year-old Holland pitched into the seventh inning in all five of his starts and threw at least 100 pitches in four of those outings. If the Rangers think Yovani Gallardo is a better No. 2 starter, Holland is more than capable of being a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher. His maturity isn’t an issue, and he displayed tremendous leadership in the clubhouse, once he returned from injury. Wherever he stacks up, the Rangers need Holland, who can make at least 25 to 30 starts in 2015, healthy.
Projections from Steamer Projections, via FanGraphs.