Red Sox utility-man Brock Holt’s importance is misunderstood
By Hunter Noll
Utility-man Brock Holt still has a role on this Boston Red Sox team. It’s easy to overlook what he does for a team with so much talent though.
A few years ago, Brock Holt was the darling of Boston Red Sox Nation. He enjoyed a breakout season in 2014 and followed it up with an even better 2015. The following season saw some struggles though, and 2017 was lost due to vertigo.
After a miserable 2017, some fans started to wonder whether or not Boston had a need for Holt anymore. Sure, the super-utility was nice, but with Eduardo Nunez and Blake Swihart did they need that utility? He’s not a defensive savant, and his bat has looked worse in back-to-back seasons.
Let’s stop this narrative though. Holt still holds importance to the team and has a role that may be misunderstood by many.
The Red Sox have speed with Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, as well as Jackie Bradley Jr. and Eduardo Nunez. They have power with J.D. Martinez to go along with Hanley Ramirez and Rafael Devers. Then there’s the contact with players like Xander Bogaerts and Christian Vazquez (Dustin Pedroia too but he’s injured).
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It’s safe to say Holt isn’t elite in any of those categories. His career-high in steals is 12, while his career-best on-base percentage is .349. Meanwhile, the highest slugging percentage the left-hander’s ever posted is .383. Finally, his most runs batted in is 45 and runs scored is 68.
None of those are exactly eye-popping. He can get on-base and is solid on the base paths, but other than that there’s nothing to go crazy about. Due to that, it’s understandable that some fans will get tired of Holt. With such a fantastic lineup throwing someone on the roster that doesn’t bring elite talent to any category seems boring.
The beginning of 2018 hasn’t helped Holt’s case either. In two games, the 29-year-old is off to a 0-for-5 start.
He’s drawn three walks already though, and in eight plate appearances has seen 40 pitches (five pitches per at-bat). Holt’s always been one to work counts, and that hasn’t changed early on in 2018.
Meanwhile, despite other utility options, Holt’s defensive flexibility still helps a lot. Being able to play any position (other than catcher), gives the Red Sox the chance to rest anyone and make a number of in-game adjustments.
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Holt was once the toast of the town. Fast-forward a few years and many believe he’s overstayed his welcome. There’s a misunderstood importance to Holt that can still shine through for the 2018 Boston Red Sox though.