The Texas Rangers will easily have multiple All Stars. Yu Darvish and Adrian Beltre are relatively certain selections, while Elvis Andrus and Joe Nathan are also highly likely selections. However, their most deserving player is very likely to be overlooked in the process. Most pitchers with a 2.82 ERA, 8.59 K/9 and 80 innings pitched in a hitters’ ballpark in the AL West would be undeniable All Star selections, but there is little buzz around SP Derek Holland.
While struggling severely with home/road splits in 2012 – 5.55 ERA at home while just 3.65 on the road – Holland improved his ERA by more than a half run in the second half. He dramatically decreased his walk rate, as he started to improve his consistency. That has continued into 2013, as he has dropped his walk rate for the fourth consecutive season – down now to just 2.37 BB/9. Holland’s advanced metrics indicate that this performance is definitely sustainable, and he has been a consistent bright spot in the oft-injured Rangers’ rotation.
Cracking the American League’s All Star pitching staff will be difficult, but Holland is very deserving. Holland ranks ninth in baseball in WAR, and he is ahead of teammate and All Star lock Darvish. Ranking just behind three Detroit Tigers’ starters, Felix Hernandez and Clay Buchholz, Holland ranks an impressive sixth among AL pitchers in WAR.
Though it seems unlikely that Holland will be selected as an American League All Star, his performance has been strong, consistent and noteworthy. It is unfortunate that the circumstances may preclude him from being honored, but more sustained success could earn Holland many All Star selections in the years to come.
Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.