clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The amazing advancements of Brock Holt

New, comments

Coming into 2014, Brock Holt was no more than a trade throw in and a fringe major leaguer who had not played more than 26 games in the big leagues. Just a month into his last call-up, Holt has turned himself into so much more.

Mitchell Layton

BOSTON -- Day by day, the legend of Brock Holt grows. Superman, Batman and Ironman sit down on Saturday mornings with a nice bowl of cereal to watch the animated adventures of Brock Holt. Matt Damon has already signed on to play Holt in the biopic of the Red Sox' everyman's life journey. Brock Holt does not sleep. He waits.

In all seriousness, Holt, who is hitting .329/.369/.452 with 12 doubles, two triples, 15 RBIs and five stolen bases in 2014, has quickly become an essential part of the Red Sox lineup. Since being recalled from Pawtucket in mid-May, Holt has established himself as the team's leadoff hitter, using his athleticism to solidify himself at every position on the field with the exception of pitcher, catcher and shortstop (the last of which he played throughout the minor leagues). If the right technology developed, the Red Sox could clone Holt and have him play seven of the nine positions on the baseball field.

Holt essentially ended the comeback tour of Grady Sizemore. Holt has made highlight reel catches and been the most consistent hitter in the Red Sox lineup for a month now. The 26-year-old has performed and displayed enough on the field to prove that he is not just another Pedro Ciriaco. Holt is a legitimate major leaguer and is here to stay. In just one month as a full-time player, Holt has the fourth highest wins above replacement on the Red Sox at 1.0, trailing just Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia and Mike Napoli.

But before his recent hot streak, Holt was no more than a trade throw-in alongside Joel Hanrahan. Holt was a player that never played more than 26 games at the major league level. To prove his value, Holt came into his most recent call-up with a very specific mindset. Holt wanted to bounce back after a lackluster first season in the Red Sox organization. To do so, he wanted to get back to his roots in Texas and play baseball the way he did growing up in Fort Worth.

"I’m just going out there and trying to have fun and try to play relaxed, and it’s been working," Holt said on May 21. "I told myself going into this year to just have fun and that it’s just a game and go out and play like you’ve played since you were little, and that’s what I’m trying to do. And right now, it seems to be working OK."

As his role continues to grow, Holt's mindstate stays level. He does not get too high on himself. He does not get too low on himself. At the same time, manager John Farrell's view of Holt seems to only be getting more positive game by game. When Holt came up to the big leagues a month ago, Farrell was hoping to see the utilityman provide a spark at the bottom of the lineup.

"We felt like we needed to create a little bit of a jump-start to the offense," Farrell said on the day of Holt's call-up. "[I] felt like we needed to try different combinations and to spark that bottom third of the order."

How quickly things have changed for Holt in just one short month.

"The best way to wrap it up, he’s a good baseball player," Farrell said on Tuesday. "I say that in general, but he understands the game, he’s athletic, he’s got speed, I think he’s improve his basestealing and his overall baserunning from the time we got him here. I think more than anything he’s really flourishing in the flexibility we’re providing for him."

"It seems like Brock at some point in each game has an effect on what’s going on," said pitcher Jon Lester. "The guy’s done an unbelievable job."

Even though his role and popularity has grown, Holt continues to stay focus on the task at hand. Instead, Holt is using his growing confidence as a mechanism to continue his consistent performance at the plate.

"[My confidence is] pretty high," Holt said. "Confidence is a big part of being successful. If you are confident in your abilities to go out and play like we’re capable of playing, so right now things are going well.

"I’ve got confidence in my ability and I think it’s showing. Like I said, trying to go out and have fun and not try to do too much and just enjoy the game and hopefully good things happen."