From third base to first base, to left field? Who knew utility-man Brock Holt had so much to offer? Holt even made a great play in left against Detroit Sunday night.
Although he didn’t steal in the ninth inning like John Kruk was begging him to, Holt has given the Red Sox offense a big boost. The only question is, how long will this last?
The 25-year-old Rice University product was drafted in the ninth round in 2009 by the Pirates and traded to the Red Sox along with Joel Hanrahan two offseasons ago. Although still quite young, Holt was never pegged as a top prospect or somebody who would eventually become a starter in the MLB. A career .307 hitter in the minors, Holt has shown that he can hit for average at all levels. His .339 batting average in limited time with the Red Sox this season puts him well ahead of Xander Bogaerts, who is second on the team batting .288.
Once Stephen Drew came up to the big leagues, “Brockstar” was pushed over to first base to keep his bat in the lineup. When Mike Napoli came off the DL, Holt was pushed to left field, which he had never played at any level of professional ball. It is clear that Holt is willing to be versatile to stay with the big club, but what happens when Shane Victorino returns? That puts the Red Sox with six outfielders if Holt is included which is clearly too many. Holt could be an all around utility-man and Jonathan Herrera could be sent down, but what if Holt continues to hit?
Holt has clearly added a spark to an absolutely dreadful lineup and there is no reason to sit him down until his bat gets cold. Jackie Bradley Jr. was finally sat after his strikeouts continued to pile up against Detroit. Bradley’s great center field defense may not be enough to make up for his .580 OPS and 65 strikeouts.
Is it possible that Holt could even play center? Maybe not, but if the Red Sox continue to lose, there’s no reason they can’t give it a shot. Holt already has one more total base than Bradley in exactly half as many games and the Red Sox need for offense would prefer Holt’s bat over Bradley’s glove.
There’s a good chance Holt’s run so far this season is a fluke and he will be a career bench player, but the Red Sox have made the right decision by going with the hot bat. Until his average starts plummeting, expect to see him in the lineup no matter who is healthy. Maybe he even becomes a valuable trade chip at the deadline for a more proven player. Not that I want to see Holt shipped out, but if the Red Sox don’t see him as part of their future, he will probably be available. After being shut out by Bud Norris and the Orioles last night though, I don’t see Holt going anywhere soon.