With Mike Napoli expected to return from the disabled list on Sunday, he will return to playing first base leaving recent call-up Brock Holt without a spot in the starting lineup. Fortunately for Holt, he has already proven that he is capable of playing third base well. The only reason Holt was moved to first base is because with Stephen Drew starting at shortstop Xander Bogaerts was forced to moved to third base.
Holt’s ability to play both positions gives the Boston Red Sox options with who they decided to demote when Napoli returns. Holt can move over to third base and either Drew or Bogaerts can play short. The Red Sox will therefore have to decide between demoting Drew, Holt and Bogaerts. In his short time with the team, Holt has already proven that he is vitally important and, despite the limited action, has demonstrated that he has more to offer than both Bogaerts or Drew.
The absence of Jacoby Ellsbury this season has left a void at the leadoff spot for the Red Sox. Holt is now leading the team with a .328 batting average. His on base percentage is also third on the team behind Napoli and Bogaerts with .371. In a short period of time, Holt has shown consistency with his hitting and his ability to get on base makes him a legitimate weapon at the leadoff spot.
Another area the Red Sox have greatly missed Ellsbury is speed. The Red Sox have gone from one of the fastest teams in the league last year to third to last with a pathetic 18 stolen bases. Once again, Holt can be a part of the speed solution. Despite his limited time on the roster, Holt is already third on the team in stolen bases, and he has proven that his speed will also be crucial especially with him batting leadoff.
Under normal circumstances keeping Holt in the lineup would be an easy decision. However, Bogaerts has elevated his play lately and Drew was specifically brought in for his defense at shortstop.
The reason why Drew should be the one to go down is a combination of Bogaerts swinging the bat better and the fact that he has come out and said that shortstop is his natural position. Throw in that Drew is yet to get a hit since joining the team and the Red Sox cannot afford to take away two of the hottest offensive players on the team. Bogaerts and Holt are Nos. 1 and 2 on the team in batting average, both hitting above .300, and with Napoli returning having Holt, Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Napoli could finally bring stability to the top of the Red Sox’ lineup and bring them back to the offensive juggernauts they were last season.
The only reason to take Holt out of the lineup would be if he were a defensive liability. Combine that Holt has proven to be steady at third and first base with his offensive spark and Holt should stay in the lineup over both Bogaerts and Drew.