Brock Holt is showing the upside that made him an All-Star for the Boston Red Sox a year ago since his return from injury this month.
Now this is the Brock Holt we’ve been waiting for.
This season has been drastically different from Holt’s 2015 campaign, when he represented the Boston Red Sox as the team’s lone All-Star. He enters the day hitting .264, which is well below what he’s produced over his last two seasons. What’s changed this year?
One reason is that manager John Farrell hasn’t taken advantage of Holt’s trademark versatility, as he has been used in left field in 39 of his 50 appearances. This has come mostly out of necessity, as injuries have deprived the Red Sox of many of their alternative options, which has left Holt as the primary starter in left field.
Holt hasn’t been the pillar of health himself this season either, as a concussion in May knocked him out of the lineup for 36 games. The Red Sox placed him on the 7-day concussion disabled list on May 20, but later revealed that the injury initially occurred during a game against the Oakland A’s on May 9, when Holt landed awkwardly diving after a ground ball.
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At the time of the injury, Holt was hitting .281 with a .772 OPS, numbers that are much more in line with what we expect from him. In the 11 days that he battled through concussion-like symptoms prior to being placed on the DL, Holt scuffled through a 2-for-24 skid, dropping his average to a season-low .239.
Holt was activated to begin the month of July and has been one of the hottest hitters on the Red Sox ever since. In eight games this month he’s batting .370/.433/.875 with a pair of home runs, including a solo shot that put Boston on the board early in Tuesday night’s win over the San Francisco Giants. That marked Holt’s fifth homer of the season, setting a new career high, while his .762 OPS will also be his best if he can keep it at that level.
Attempting to play through a serious head injury was the culprit behind Holt’s dip in productivity, marring his overall numbers for the season. Now healthy, he’s tearing it up at the plate in an attempt to restore those numbers to their former glory. The Brock Star is back!
The season will only get better for Holt once the Red Sox start to get some of their other injured players back. Holt has struggled in limited playing time against left-handed pitchers this season, hitting a mere 3-for-16 (.188) against them. Once lefty-masher Chris Young returns from a hamstring injury, he’ll be able to play left field against southpaws, preventing Holt from being put in a position where he has to face pitchers he has struggled with this season.
When Blake Swihart returns from an ankle injury it will give the Red Sox another bat to deploy in left field against right-handed pitching, allowing Holt to reclaim his super-utility role and increasing his value to the team.
The Red Sox made a habit of lighting up the scoreboard in the first half of the season, leading the majors in most offensive categories. It will be difficult for the stars in the top half of their lineup to maintain their torrid pace the rest of the way, but the Red Sox have the depth to overcome a slump here or there. With the scorching bat of the Sandyman and the revitalized Brock Star hitting well at the bottom of the order, the Red Sox offense should keep humming along.