Over the past two years, Brock Holt has played a marginal role within the Boston Red Sox‘s infield. Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the trade that brought former closer Joel Hanrahan to the Red Sox, Holt has bounced around between the Pawtucket Red Sox (Triple-A) and Boston, combining to play 122 games between two levels. However, with Will Middlebrooks still on the disabled list, Holt’s role with the Red Sox has led to the possibility of the 25-year-old infielder becoming a major contributor to the Red Sox lineup.
Although Holt only hit .203 in 26 games with the Red Sox in 2013, his hot start with Pawtucket during the 2014 season helped his cause to return to Boston. In 12 games with Pawtucket, Holt led the International League with a .380 batting average, combined with a 1.046 OPS. Due to the ineffectiveness of Ryan Roberts (who was designated for assignment on Friday) at third base, Holt was called up to help a struggling Red Sox infield that has combined for a meager .252 average.
Holt’s offensive flexibility also made him an immediate factor into the Red Sox lineup. Placed into the starting lineup as soon as he was called up on Friday, Holt went 2-for-4 in his first game versus the Baltimore Orioles, getting the Red Sox on the board with an RBI single in the third inning. Holt is a player who can bat anywhere in the lineup, but during his tenure with the Red Sox, expect him to hit in the lower third of the lineup.
Another key facet of Holt’s skill set is his defensive flexibility. Although he will be mostly utilized at third base, Holt has also proven his ability to play second and shortstop. His flexibility could come into conflict with the playing time of infielder Jonathan Herrera, but Herrera’s ineffectiveness to start the season will pave the way for Holt to get more opportunities in the infield.
In effect, Brock Holt was called up at the perfect time for the Boston Red Sox. With the cumulative ineffectiveness of the Red Sox infield, Holt’s offensive and defensive skills could bring him success within the team. With Middlebrooks expected to come back in the next few weeks, expect there to be some sort of a competition between Herrera and Holt for the backup infielder role. Holt’s skills are greater than those of Herrera, making for an interesting roster situation for the Red Sox in the early going of the season.