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Derek Holland: Opportunity is Everything

The Ranger’s Derek Holland has blossomed into one of the more dominating left-handed pitchers in the American League.  In 2011, his first complete season in the big leagues, he posted a 3.95 ERA with a 16-5 record, hurling 162 strikeouts in 32 starts.  Derek has continued his success in this year’s campaign, sporting a 3.78 ERA with a 3-2 record as of May 16th. With such dominating numbers it’s easy to assume Derek’s road to the big leagues was destined; but he has been exceeding expectations his entire career.

Derek wasn’t exactly a standout at Newark High School (Newark, Ohio), but both he and his father Rick knew he had potential. When the Baseball Factory invited Derek to join the program in 2004, Rick jumped at the opportunity.   Derek went on to participate in the Exclusive College Recruiting Program, in addition to competing as a member of the Baseball Factory National Team at the Arizona Senior Fall Classic.  He took advantage of the guidance provided by the College Recruiting staff and the exposure offered through the Baseball Factory program, ultimately securing a spot at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, AL.  During his career at Wallace State, Derek’s talent really blossomed and he was eventually drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 25th round of the 2006 amateur draft.  He spent two seasons in the Texas minor league system before getting the call up in 2009. Just two years later he helped lead the Rangers to their second World Series appearance in franchise history.  

In a recent interview with The Newark Advocate, Derek’s father Rick had this to say about their experience with Baseball Factory, "We were just trying to get him noticed and get his name out there. I knew we had to do something to get him noticed, so we sent him to Baseball Factory, which helps kids get noticed and get to the next level.  We knew the potential was there, but it was just a matter of the right people bringing it out. Once he got the opportunity, he took it from there."

With the right opportunity, Rick saw his son’s potential in high school develop into standout, Major League talent.  Once discovered, Derek’s competitive spirit and undeniable poise catapulted him to the next level.  And on his journey from relative obscurity Derek found himself pitching on the biggest stage of all last fall.  


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For the complete story on Derek Holland in The Newark Advocate, click here.

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