Brock Holt was selected to the 2015 American League All Star team by Manager Ned Yost on July 6. Holt had played at seven different positions in the first half of the season so there was no way he could be picked in the selection process for starters on the team who are selected by position by popular vote of the fans.
In the first 66 games he played in this year, he played the most games, 20, at second base filling in for the injured Dustin Pedroia, and the second most, 17, in right field. He has played every position except pitcher and catcher for the Sox in both 2014 and 2015. Despite being moved around so much, he had handled 675 chances and had 353 put outs, 304 assists and just 18 errors for a .973 fielding percentage in his Major League career.
In that first 66 games, prior to his selection, despite being moved from position to position, sometimes playing multiple positions in one game, Holt had managed to hit .295 with 66 hits in 224 at bats. He had a six game hitting streak when selected and had hit .333 in that period with nine hits in 27 at bats.
Utility players, which is how Holt is categorized, are generally good fielders and poor hitters who fill in when a regular is hurt or needs a day off. Holt is the exception, regulars are given days off to make room for Holt in the lineup.
He was born in Fort Worth, Texas on June 11, 1988, and was a Texas High School star. He started college at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas and the moved to Rice University in Houston.
Holt has always hit well. At Rice, in 2009, where he was named to the All Regional NCAA Team, he hit .348, with 12 homers and 43 RBI’s in 59 games. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth round of the 2009 Amateur Draft and signed by them on June 18, 2009.
In his first year in professional ball, he played for State College in the Low A New York/Penn League where he hit .299 in 66 games before being moved up to Bradenton in the High A Florida League in 2010 where he hit .351 in 47 games. The next year, at Altoona, in the AA Eastern League, he hit .288 in 132 games.
He started 2012 in Altoona and hit .322 in 102 games before being moved up to Indianapolis in the Class AAA International League, where he played in 24 games and hit .432.
He made his debut in the Major Leagues with Pittsburgh on September 1, 2012 against the Milwaukee Brewers. He pinch hit for relief pitcher Jared Hughes in the eighth inning, drew a walk and eventually scored the tying run to send that game to the ninth 2-2. He played in 24 games in the majors with Pittsburgh that year and hit .292.
On December 26, 2012, he was traded, with Joel Hanrahan from the Pirates to the Red Sox for Ivan Dejesus and Mark Melancon. Holt was a throw in in that trade which was all about the Sox getting rid of Melancon and acquiring Hanrahan, neither of who panned out in Boston.
In 2013, his first year in the Red Sox organization, he was assigned to Pawtucket, the Sox affiliate in the AAA International League. He played in 83 games and hit .258. In 26 games with the Sox that year, he hit only .203. In 2014, he started the season with Pawtucket again and hit .315 in 27 games.
In his minor league career, he averaged .307 at the plate and played almost exclusively middle infield positions with 283 games at shortstop and 178 at second base. He did play 11 games at third base but never played the outfield or first base.
He spent most of 2014 with the Red Sox and played in 106 games, hitting
.281 with four homers and 29 RBI’s. For the first time, he was given the opportunity to play many different positions and became a valuable part of a very weak team.
At 5’10’, 180 pounds, he has the ability to hit the long ball and hit to all fields.
On June 16, against the Atlanta Braves, he hit for the cycle, a single, double, triple and home run in the same game, becoming the first Red Sox player to do so since John Valentin did it in 1996. A left handed hitter, he hits left handers almost as well as righties, hitting .299 against right handers and . 277 against lefties this year.
His salary of $531,000. makes him a bargain on a team that spent a fortune for the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Pablo Sandoval and Rick Porcello, none of whom have been nearly as valuable to the Sox as Holt. He is signed through this season and is eligible for arbitration in 2017 and will not be eligible for Free Agency until 2020.
There is an old baseball adage that says a team must be strong up the middle. The Sox have the ability to ensure that they are strong there for a long time by taking steps to lock catcher Christian Vazquez, and/or Blake Swihart, shortstop Xander Bogaerts, center fielder Mookie Betts and Holt into long term contracts as they have done with second baseman Dustin Pedroia. The money it would cost to do so would be a much better investment than most of their other recent large expenditures.
In the meantime, congratulations to their first baseman, second baseman, shortstop, third baseman, left fielder, center fielder and right fielder for making the All Star Team where he stole a base and scored a run in a winning cause for the American League.