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“Who is this Brock Holt guy,” I, and many other Red Sox fans asked ourselves back in mid-May. He sounds like a superhero. The name ‘Brock Holt’ has a lot of pizzazz. Like Peter Parker, Clark Kent, or Bruce Wayne. I will admit that I wrongfully dismissed him, “Ehh, he’s probably just some fill-in prospect.”
May 17, 2014 doesn’t seem like an important day for the Red Sox. But, that day marked the start of Brock Holt becoming a regular fixture on the Boston Red Sox lineup card. During the forgettable loss, Brock Holt batted 9th, had no hits and only saw seven total pitches over three at bats, a very mild-mannered performance. But like any intriguing comic book superhero, Brock had to show his vulnerability before dawning the cape.
For most of the season poor John Farrell didn’t have many reliable leadoff options. Enter Brock Holt. Holt has a been a pleasant surprise, not only leading off, but leading the team with a .338 average and .845 OPS (he is second in OBP after Napoli and second in slugging after Ortiz). No, he’s not a power guy (1 HR), and with only four stolen bases he isn’t a speedster either.
However, his value cannot be understated during his short time as an everyday player. Over 34 games Holt has 47 hits (1.3 hits per game) and has crossed the plate 18 times. Having a leadoff hitter who scores in 52% of games played is a huge boost for the rest of the team. Perhaps most importantly, the lineup behind Holt has settled in and no longer resembles the perpetual carousel that it was earlier in the season. Simply put, Brock Holt provides consistency.
The main reason the front office pulled the trigger on the Stephen Drew signing is because (when he is healthy) he plays great defense. But Brock Holt is no defensive slouch. Holt’s glove received several NCAA awards before he was drafted in the 9th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009.
Yes, he has had 5 errors and has the second lowest fielding percentage on the team at .963. But, so far this season Holt hasn’t played at his optimal middle infield position. Considering the different number of positions he has played (1st base, 3rd base, left field, right field) and since playing off the Green Monster isn’t exactly natural, his fielding mistakes ought to be forgiven. Versatile is the only word that can describe Brock Holt’s glove so far this season.
Consistency at the plate and versatility in the field is a great combination. It shouldn’t be surprising that Farrell has been moving Holt all over the field so he can remain the team’s leadoff hitter. At age 26, the question can be fairly asked–is Brock Holt a superhero?
Maybe not, but he’s a hell of a baseball player and a vital member of the Sox so far this season. Any perceived defensive shortcomings that result from positional inconsistency should be overlooked. The versatility of Holt’s glove allows the rest of the lineup to benefit from his consistency at the plate. In the eyes of John Farrell, Brock Holt is most likely viewed as a bonafide superhero.