Brock Holt has been invaluable off the Boston Red Sox bench


We know that the Boston Red Sox outfield is overflowing with depth, but their infielders all have someone to back them up when the need arises. His name is Brock Holt.

Holt has proven to be the perfect bench player due to his tremendous versatility. You may recall that last year he spent time at every position on the diamond, aside from pitcher and catcher. Don’t think he wouldn’t volunteer to give those spots a try if the team really needed him to. Holt is the consummate team player, never complaining when his name isn’t on the lineup card, but always ready to step in when it is.

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What is just as remarkable as Holt’s versatility is his uncanny ability to step in and produce even when playing time is sporadic. Holt didn’t get his first start this season until April 11, which was the team’s 5th game of the season. He had one pinch-hit appearance in the opening series in Philadelphia, but aside from that he had essentially been parked on the bench all season to that point. Despite the time off from seeing game action, all Holt did in that start was come through with a 4-hit performance.

There has been plenty of speculation that the Red Sox would inevitably deal some of their surplus position players, but general manager Ben Cherington has remained patient. There is no reason to rush into making a deal for the sake of unloading a player that doesn’t have an immediate path to a significant role. Every team will have their depth tested at some point as injuries arise. While many teams struggle to plug holes in their lineup, Boston is well suited to handle such situations. Holt is one of the primary reasons for that.

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This week the Red Sox were given a scare when Xander Bogaerts stumbled around third base, tweaking his knee. While it did not appear to be an immediate concern, he needed a day off and was sent for a precautionary MRI. The next day, Pablo Sandoval was hit on the foot with a pitch from Stephen Strasburg that forced him out of the game early. Holt filled in for Bogaerts at shortstop on Tuesday, then got the start at third when Sandoval was out on Wednesday. He went 3-for-8 in those two games, picking up an RBI and scoring a run. Most players would never scoff at hitting .375, no matter how small the sample size. For Holt, it actually lowered his average from a staggering .714 to a merely spectacular .533 for the season.

Boston may have dodged a bullet, as tests came back clean for both Bogaerts and Sandoval. Bogaerts was back in the lineup on Wednesday, with Sandoval likely to return shortly. As pleased as the Red Sox must be that neither infielder will miss much time, they are equally grateful to have a player like Holt capable of seamlessly filling in.

Holt may struggle to match the 106 games that he appeared in last season, given the depth the Red Sox have added to their roster. Even in a more limited role, he remains a valuable asset as a do-it-all utility player. There will come a time in the near future that the Red Sox will need to rely on Holt to fill in for an ailing starter, but the team will have plenty of confidence in the Brock Star to shine when called upon.