When Will Middlebrooks first hit the Disabled List on April 6 with a calf strain, it was Brock Holt that was called up from Pawtucket. His stay in Boston lasted for one game, in which he logged a DNP, before he was sent back down and Ryan Roberts was signed.
With the luxury of hindsight, it’s easy for people to question the signing of Roberts. At the time though, the move made some sense. The Red Sox were preparing to start a stretch of games where the opposition was featuring a heavy dose of left-handed starters. Hitting lefties was supposed to be the strength of the right-handed hitting Roberts.
Also, keep in mind that Holt only hit .203 in 26 games with the big league club last season, and that at the time of Middlebrooks’ injury this season, Pawtucket was only three games into their schedule. There was no real strong evidence to support that Holt might make an immediate impact in Boston.
As we now know though, the Roberts move didn’t pan out the way the Sox intended. He went 2-19, including 0-11 against southpaws, with seven strikeouts and also made an error in the field. Meanwhile, all Holt has done is bat .380 with a .446 OBP (granted it’s against lesser pitching), all while featuring a big zero in the E column.
Holt provided a spark to the Sox offense last night, going 2-4 with an RBI. With Middlebrooks potentially not starting a rehab assignment until Monday, Holt will have an opportunity to prove that he belongs in Boston. It could turn into a battle with Jonathan Herrera to see who stays with the big league club. The Red Sox like Herrera’s ability as a natural shortstop to back up Bogaerts, but if Holt continues hitting like he has been, he could force Ben Cherington to keep him around, much like what Jackie Bradley Jr. is attempting to do.