Boston Red Sox Report Cards: Brock Holt


Now that the 2015 season is in the books, the BoSox Injection staff will hand out their final report cards, grading the performances of each member of the Boston Red Sox roster based on their expectations entering the season.


2015 Stats: .280/.349/.379, 2 HR, 45 RBI, 8 SB, 2.4 WAR

  • 129 games
  • 454 at-bats
  • 49 innings as 1B
  • 431.1 innings as 2B
  • 227.0 innings as 3B
  • 70.0 innings as SS
  • 70.2 innings as LF
  • 18.0 innings as CF
  • 165.0 innings as RF

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In 2012, Brock Holt was traded from the team that drafted him, the Pittsburgh Pirates, as part of a package. He was not the focus of the deal. The Red Sox were looking for a closer. Two-time All-Star Joel Hanrahan was the man whom Boston was trying to get, and traded away Ivan De Jesus, Mark Melancon, Stolmy Pimentel, and Jerry Sands to do it. Holt simply was compensation for the value going to Pennsylvania.

The trade worked out very well for the Red Sox, although not how they originally saw it happening.

Hanrahan didn’t find success quick enough for Boston. He gave up eight runs in seven innings, blowing two out of six saves, and was replaced by an old Japanese reliever named Koji Uehara. Does that name sound familiar to you? Between David Ortiz going on a personal mission to carry the team on his back, Uehara was instrumental in closing out games for the Red Sox 2013 World Series Championship. Hanrahan tried making a comeback with the Detroit Tigers this spring; however, after yet another bout with Tommy John surgery, Hanrahan still has not played a game in the majors since his time in Boston.

As much as Hanrahan became a bust, Holt became discovered gold for the Red Sox.

On a team that couldn’t stay healthy the last couple of seasons, Holt was the spark plug that ignited Red Sox Nation to cheer, even when the team was losing. He played every position other than pitcher or catcher, and he played them well.

Sep 29, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox second baseman Brock Holt (26) doubles to center allowing a runner to score during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

While players like Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, and Pablo Sandoval struggled to stay healthy, Holt showed excellent skills with the glove.

He had a perfect fielding percentage in the outfield, something that Ramirez, with all of his millions, could not accomplish. The Han-Ram experiment in the outfield was a disaster, whereas Holt was also an infielder who made the move to the outfield but with much better success at a much lower cost to the Red Sox of just over $530 thousand.

The majority of Holt’s time was spent at second base, making four errors in a tricky position that is often overlooked but is always a vital role in the infield.

As surprising as Holt’s glove has been for the Red Sox, his bat has been equally shocking, if not more so.

The Pirates never saw enough plate appearances to have foreseen Holt’s recent success. Holt’s batting average stayed consistent from last year, but his OBP jumped with an extra 13 walks to his credit. He also produced an extra 16 runs, no matter where the managers put him in the lineup. He was asked to be leadoff or the two-spot many times, thrusting him into the limelight often. He didn’t disappoint, hitting .325 and .301 respectively.

Another man would have shrank into the corner with all of that pressure placed on him to produce, while the veterans continued to heal. Holt, on the other hand, seems to thrive under those circumstances. All that he tried to do was put the ball in play if his teammates were in scoring position. He hit .306 and 41 of his RBIs in moments like that.

Isn’t that what any team would want in a starter? In Holt’s case, when 2017 rolls around, arbitration may kick in to raise Holt’s wage a great deal, considering the workman-like presence that he brought to Fenway Park.

Boston should thank Ned Yost, the manager of the Kansas City Royals, for recognizing Holt for being the best utility player in the majors by naming him personally to this year’s American League All-Star team. By playing all of those positions, Holt showed the baseball universe that specializing in one part of the game is overrated.

If young boys dream of playing in the big leagues, they should learn more than one position, giving them a better shot at demonstrating their potential. In a sporting world where so many people fight for positions and status, making the games all about them, it’s refreshing to see players like Holt making it more about the team than anything else.

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