Pittsburgh Pirates: Derek Holland Needs Removed From Starting Rotation


With the month of September being all about the future, the Pittsburgh Pirates need to remove Derek Holland from their starting rotation

One of the biggest surprises of the MLB trade deadline this past Monday was the lack of moves by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Out of all of the moves that were not made, the most surprising was the team not trading Derek Holland.

The veteran lefty has been in the team’s starting rotation all season, but is set to hit free agency when the season ends. So with the Pittsburgh Pirates out of postseason contention, trading Holland seemed like an obvious move to make.

Well, that move was not made. Now, Holland is no longer scheduled to start for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night at PNC Park against the Chicago Cubs. This needs to become the norm moving forward.

While Holland owns a career-best 24.6% strikeout rate this season, that is where the good ends. He has walked 10.3% of batters faced and has allowed 10 home runs in 28.1 innings pitched (3.18 HR/9). All of this comes out to a woeful 7.62 ERA and an even worse 10.16 DRA.

Right now, Holland starting accomplishes nothing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not only is he not giving the team a chance to win now, he will also play no part in the team’s future. For these reasons, he needs removed from the Pirate starting rotation.

Joe Musgrove will return from the injures list to replace Holland on Wednesday. Additionally, Holland’s starts could go to Nick Tropeano who has been excellent thus far with the Pirates.

The Pirates acquired Tropeano after he was designated for assignment by the New York Yankees in late August. With the Pirates, Tropeano has pitched 6.2 scoreless innings. He has allowed five hits, walked two and struck out six.

During his MLB career Tropeano has been primarily a starter. 39 of his 44 MLB appearances have been as a starting pitcher. He owns a 4.38 ERA in his career, so he has been a solid back end of the rotation arm.

It is also possible that Tropeano is evolving into a new pitcher. He has thrown his split finger 24.9% of the time this season, this comes after throwing the pitch just 9.2% of the time in 2019. Opposing batters have just two hits off the pitch, and a 44.6% whiff rate. The pitch has had a ton of drop to it, and has looked like a potential weapon for Tropeano.

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Unlike Holland, Tropeano is under team control through next season. So, he could play a role for the Pirates in 2021. He could also pitch his way into having an increased trade value for the Pirates.