There have been plenty of ups and downs so far this season but I'm sure that we can all agree that Brock Holt is the real deal. He emerged from out of nowhere as a minor league call up to replace an ailing Will Middlebrooks and now he is leading off and collecting multi hit games like autographed balls, and also making stellar defensive plays with ease. Stephen Drew made his season debut Monday night at shortstop, which moved Xander Bogaerts to third, leaving Holt as the potential odd man out fairly soon.
Holt showed that he could play first base if need be this week but Mike Napoli should be back soon (by Sunday most likely), which will leave Holt relegated to Jonathan Herrera's utility role. Holt has demonstrated that he can play an adequate defensive first base but Napoli will naturally get his old job back after a finger injury sidelined him for a few weeks.
Holt simply can not sit right now. He is hot at the plate, and has been the only legitimate lead-off man on the Red Sox all year. His .371 OBP (3rd on the Sox) is stellar on a team that often has trouble getting on base early in the game. Behind Bogaerts, he is the most productive player in the lineup right now, and he can't be sat just because Stephen Drew needs a spot to play.
Many people say that Holt can not possibly keep up the same production that he has enjoyed so far this year, but that is just lazy analysis. You can't bench a player based on what might happen if he keeps playing, that would just be foolish. Holt may be hot right now but on a struggling offense you need to ride a hot player until he stops producing. It was mind-numbing to see Holt still at first base last night with Stephen Drew on the bench.
What would allow that to happen would be risky but almost seems like a necessity. The Red Sox could ask Holt to play left field. Holt has very little professional experience in the outfield but he didn't have any at first base either and he has been able to play the position well so far. The Red Sox would be very smart to put Holt in the outfield for his bat. This is the worst hitting outfield in the history of the Boston Red Sox and is on track to be the worst in the MLB in the last 50 years. Moving Holt to left field would take a horrible bat out of the order and allow for Napoli, Bogaerts, and himself to play in the same lineup.
The Grady Sizemore experiment is over. He should be designated for assignment and as for Jonny Gomes, has a player ever been more beloved by fans for doing so little? He's a great morale booster, and every once in a while he makes a flashy defensive play, but otherwise Gomes rarely makes any notable contributions. When Drew is out, Holt should be at third base and when he is in, the outfield should consist of Holt, Bradley, and Victorino (when he's activated). That lineup is superior to anything the Red Sox could offer when Holt is on the bench. Like I've written a few times already, it would be a sin to bench a hitter as hot as Holt is.