Tag Archives: Derek Holland

Eloy Jimenez Makes First Appearance at Guaranteed Rate Field

“I truly believe that I can be playing here right now,” Eloy Jimenez told the media on Tuesday during his formal introduction to the park he will soon call home. “In my mind, I’m ready. But I have to wait.”

Jimenez, 20, was the headliner in the deal that sent left-hander Jose Quintana to the Cubs on July, 14th. Since moving to the White Sox’s Double-A Birmingham affiliate, Jimenez has hit an impressive .353/.397/.559 with 16 strikeouts in 68 at bats.

Jimenez’s demeanor is that of someone well beyond his years, and his skill set is one that demands attention as he continues to dominant throughout the minors. But Jimenez remains very humble and self aware. When asked if he he’ll be a star, his answer is “Of course.”

“That’s why I’m working hard every day.” Jimenez said. “I want to be the best player on the field every time I go out. That’s why I’m working hard. I don’t want to be just another player. I want to be the best player.”

Manager Rick Renteria has been sufficiently impressed with what he’s seen from Jimenez this season. “We’ve seen quite a bit of [him], obviously he’s a young man with some power,” Renteria said. “He can play the field and on top of that we’ve watched some of the interviews he’s given, he’s a pretty bright young man. It’s going to be nice to see these guys as they continue to move forward in their careers with hopes that they’re going to be a part of a tremendous future here in Chicago.”

It was easy to see a picture in which Jimenez is a mainstay on the South Side as he shook hands with his future teammates, watched batting practice alongside his future hitting coach, Todd Steverson, and enjoyed a warm welcome from some of his future teammates.

“[Carson] Fulmer gave me a very good welcome,” Jimenez said. “He made me feel like I’m part of the roster here. I also met with the manager, the coaches. I’m excited. They all treat me in a good way and I’m just very, very excited.”

Jimenez knows his work isn’t done though. He may feel ready to be slotted into the lineup during his time in Chicago on Tuesday but he still has improvements to make before he can take the big stage.

“I have to improve all around my game,” Jimenez said. “I don’t think it’s any specific area that I have to improve more than another. I have to keep learning about the game because every day you can learn something different. That’s the way I like to approach my day on a daily basis. That’s the way I like to think; work hard every day and try to learn and improve every day in all the aspects of the game.”

Part of that improvement will begin this offseason, as Jimenez said he plans to take part in the Dominican Winter League. As for Renteria, he thinks that the organization will need to sit down with Jimenez and help him make that decision when the time comes.

“Everybody gains what they want to get out of it, some people go with it willingly, some people go not wanting to really go and don’t get a whole lot,” Renteria said. “If he decides and the organization decides that that’s something that he should do, we will talk about it. If he wants to do it obviously everybody has to be on board with something like that.”

“It kind of helps people to see the game from a different perspective,” Renteria said of Winter League baseball. “Because you have some of the best of the best going out there competing and performing, but I think that we will come to some conclusion about what we want him to do.”

As old familiar faces begin to pack their bags in the White Sox clubhouse and new ones take their place, Manager Rick Renteria can’t help but think about the future on the South Side.

“A couple days ago, I’ll be honest I sat back and started writing all the names on the board of the players we have within the system, the kids that have been within the system, and the kids we’ve acquired,” Renteria said. “You start looking and you think we’re poised to hopefully help these guys get better and make them a part of the Chicago White Sox at the major league level. The names that are on that board are nice to see.”

Holland Released–

The White Sox announced the release of veteran left-handed starter Derek Holland on Tuesday. Holland, 30, had a rather turbulent year with the White Sox, pitching to a 6.20 ERA with a 6.42 FIP. He allowed 31 home runs in 135 innings.

“With the young men coming up, it was going to cut into his usage,” Renteria said of the move. “That’s what it was. He was awesome when we spoke to him last night, he was very grateful for the opportunity. He was very happy to get through the season healthy. He was disappointed he wasn’t able to do more, he really wanted to come in and perform better but I think with the guys we’ve brought up are going to be the ones that are going to taking those innings.”

“Derek was a great teammate,” pitcher James Shields said. “All of the guys liked him around here. He went out there every five days and pitched with his heart. The guy cared about baseball and is a tremendous human being. It’s always tough to lose a guy like that.”

The White Sox promoted left-handed reliever Jace Fry to take Holland’s roster spot. Fry, who has undergone Tommy John surgery twice, will making his first appearance in the majors on Tuesday. He spent the entire 2017 season with Double-A Birmingham and pitched 45 innings with 52 strikeouts while posting a 2.78 ERA.

Derek Holland has been what the White Sox Needed, Can it Continue?

The White Sox showed a their thrifty side yet again this offseason, finding a cost-effective starter to fill out their rotation in former Rangers starter Derek Holland. Holland came to the South Side on a one-year, $6 million deal to help carry the load after the Sox traded away their ace and is currently without two of its starters. The inning-eating part the White Sox can’t be too sure about with Holland, who has suffered numerous injuries in his career that have only allowed him to pitch 203 innings combined since 2014. However, if any organization is known for it’s ability to keep pitchers healthy, it’s the White Sox.

Derek Holland has shown success in his start to the season on the South Side. He’s gone six or more innings in five of his last seven starts and and holds a 2.70 ERA. Sounds all well and good, right? Except for the fact that Holland’s peripherals and past performances tell a different story. Unfortunately, this likely not the Derek Holland we are going to see throughout the remaining five months of the season.

Holland may have a sparkling 2.70 ERA in 46.7 innings pitched so far this season, 9th best of all qualified starters in the American League, but his FIP and DRA currently sit at 4.42 and 4.54, respectively — figures which are much more in line with Holland’s career numbers.

Take a look at these two players, two starting pitchers the White Sox picked up who had strikingly similar first month profiles during their time on the South Side:

Holland 7 3 11 2.17 4.13 29
Player X 6 3 8 1.84 4.37 29.1

Player X is 2016 White Sox starter and amazing reclamation project Mat Latos. Eerily similar, huh? Both signed to one year deals, both filling rotation holes, both with long injury histories and both with phenomenal, likely unsustainable first months of the season. Latos went on to pitch to a 6.41 ERA in May of 2016 and gave up 19 earned runs in 26.2 innings. Holland has already matched his first month total of earned runs and home runs allowed during his two starts in May, while only pitching 17.2 innings. Regression seems eminent for Holland, just as it was for Latos.

This isn’t just a bunch of nonsense and there is no need to feel jaded just yet, White Sox fans. In fact, the realist in you should have enjoyed Holland while he lasted because if you looked at his numbers a bit deeper from April as well as in line with his career, you’d see that this was not bound to last.

Holland came from Globe Life Park in Arlington, a notoriously warm, hitter friendly ballpark. Globe Life Park has nearly the same Park Factors as Guaranteed Rate Field (though likely not nearly as warm come mid-July), both parks ranking at 114 and 125 respectively — even making The Rate a slightly friendlier hitters park than Globe Life.

So we know what that means, lots of home runs. Holland is currently posted a career high fly ball rate of 44.6 percent this season at The Rate — and it hasn’t even gotten consistently warm in Chicago yet. What’s interesting about that fact is that Holland is now also posting his second career lowest HR/FB rate at just 9.7 percent (league average is 13.3 percent). Neither of those figures correlate properly, and they’re bound to regress and meet at some point, meaning that as the nights get warmer and the fly balls travel farther, Holland is going to be in for some trouble in the dinger department.

As far as Holland’s other stats goes, he is currently walking batters at a 9.1 percent clip and striking them out 19 percent of the time. Holland’s career walk rate is 7.5 percent, while his career strikeout rate is 18.9. So while his walk rate may be due for some regression, his strikeout rate should continue hover just below 20 percent.

Holland has also seen a dip in his groundball percentage and, considering he’s increased his curveball usage this season, that isn’t extremely promising. Holland has gradually decreased his groundball percentage from 41.9 percent in 2015  to a career low 37.4 percent in 2017 and, again, if he continues to let up fly balls in a now even more hitter friendly ballpark than he’s used to pitching in, that could become an issue for Holland. Keeping the ball on the ground as he’s done in the past (career 42.1 percent GB%) is key for Holland’s success.

Perhaps Holland won’t have as drastic of a downward spiral as Mat Latos did, considering Latos was also combating poor mechanics, but the peripheral numbers show that the success Holland saw in April is not likely sustainable. For the sake of the rotation, let’s hope Holland can hang on until the other half of the White Sox starters return from the disabled list.

Holland Throwing with Dutch Courage

Through four starts with the White Sox, Derek Holland’s fastball has sat right around 93 mph. There’s nothing wrong with that. Ninety-three miles per hour is a perfectly acceptable velocity to throw in the big leagues. What’s a little curious is where Holland is throwing with that type of velocity (and the rest of his arsenal, for that matter) and the effectiveness he’s found while doing it.

Holland, a left-hander, is trying to bounce back from various injuries in his age-30 season. He’s completed six innings in three of four starts so far this season. His ERA is a sparkling 1.99. (Though it would have been higher had MLB not gone back and ruled Jose Abreu committed an error April 17th against the Yankees. That miscue took five runs off Holland’s sheet.) His K/9 are up at 7.5. His BB/9 (3.6) are up a bit, too.

Holland is working inside to right handers. Repeatedly. Without pause. Often. All the time. That’s the game plan he’s developed. That’s the game plan he’s stuck with. For the most part, it’s worked.

Holland isn’t just throwing the fastball in to righties, either. At 93 it’d be dangerous to work in with just one pitch–especially when that pitch, if it leaks over to the middle of the plate, becomes much more hittable. He’s throwing his slider, curve and change in on the right hander, as well.

In his first start of the year against the Twins, when he hit his spots more often than not, he punched out five over six innings. In his latest start against the Indians, when he hit his spots and got some calls from home plate umpire Dan Belino, he punched out six over six. That April 17th start against the Yankees, when he missed his spots and wasn’t getting a call here or there, he gave up seven runs, albeit two of them earned.

It’s a high-risk, high-reward type approach that takes conviction and repetition to pull off. If Holland’s command stays where it is, it looks like he’ll be able to pull of this hybrid mix of crafty lefty (throwing everything but the kitchen sink) and working inside. If he excels at it and his velocity stays at the workable 93 mph range, it might be fair to wonder if another team would ask the White Sox about trading the courageous left-hander.