Red Sox bench will be critical to their success this season

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Brock Holt

Similar to last season, Holt’s opportunities for playing time will come all over the field.  In 2015, he played 8 games at first base; 58 games at second base; 33 games at third base; 11 games at shortstop; and 37 games in the outfield.  While Young will be primary bench player for the outfield, Holt will be the primary cover for the Red Sox in the infield.  With Pedroia and Sandoval both coming off injuries and Ramirez yet to prove he is capable of playing competent defense at first, Holt will need to be ready.

Holt represented the Red Sox at the All-Star Game in 2015.  The 27-year-old utility man played in 129 games, hitting .280 with 2 HRs and 45 RBIs.  He also stole eight bases.  It says a lot about the Red Sox that one of their top two bench players this season was their only All-Star last year.

The reason Holt is not higher than Young on this list is opportunity.  Young has two players whose starting jobs he may end up taking due to both injury and performance, while Holt will only be given everyday at-bats in the case of injuries or trade.  He played most of his games last year at second, but Pedroia is headed into spring training at full health.  Therefore, barring injuries, you can expect 140 starts from Pedroia, 150 from Bogaerts, and the same from Sandoval, which limits Holt’s opportunities.

Holt’s best chance to significant playing time will be at first, although Travis Shaw may disagree with that, which is ironic considering it was his least-played position last year.  With Ramirez, the Red Sox do not know what they are going to get at either the plate or in the field.  It is entirely possible that he becomes such a defensive liability, like he was in left field last season, that the Red Sox are forced to sit him two times per week or even try to trade him, again.

Holt will also be expected to fill-in for either Bradley or Castillo, if they need a day off, against right-handed pitching.  While Young has strong splits against lefties, he batted under .200 last year against righties.  Holt batted a respectable .270 off of right-handed pitching in 2015.

Regardless of how things play out with the starters health and performance, chances are Holt is going to have a huge say in the team’s success or failure in 2016.  He plugs in at every spot on the field and John Farrell loves to find ways to get him in the lineup.

Next: Travis Shaw