BOSTON (CBS) – Brock Holt is a third baseman by trade, but has given the Red Sox added flexibility for his ability to play first base and left field. In 28 games Holt is batting .339, which qualifies him as the only outfielder actually hitting — even though he’s played just one game at the position.
Holt is unheralded, but he’s earned the right to stay with the big league club and not get sent back down to Pawtucket, according to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich.
The guys had on Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal to discuss Holt, as well as some big decisions facing the Red Sox in the next month.
The defending World Series champs currently hold a 28-34 record, good for third worst in the American League. With 100 games left to go, the Sox would need to go 62-38 just to get to 90 wins. Only one team in the majors is playing above a .620 winning percentage, so in theory, in order to make the playoffs the Red Sox would all of a sudden need to turn things around and be the best team in baseball the rest of the way.
The clock is ticking to get back on track, and MacPherson believes the Sox have about one month to go before the tough decisions must be made.
“A month probably [to make ‘buy or sell’ decision]. The big talk now is what are the Red Sox going to do to improve this team? Are they going to do anything to improve this team? They’re nine games back now in the American League East and six games under .500. There is some time left, but if they wanted to be buyers now there’s not many sellers. The market really isn’t going to flush itself out until July.”
Short of Giancarlo Stanton, MacPherson doesn’t envision a scenario where the Red Sox would part with any of their top prospects. The Marlins are also contending in their division, and if the season ended today they’d be the second wild card team in the National League.
“It’s very, very tough to see Stanton moving in-season. [Red Sox] are not moving their top-tier prospects to reinforce a team that’s under .500 already, because one guy is not going to turn around a sub .500 team. You’re not going to trade away a guy like Matt Barnes just to make this team a little bit better,” said the ProJo beat writer.
The conversation then shifted to Brock Holt.
Holt was drafted in the 9th round by Pittsburgh in 2009 and was acquired by the Red Sox along with Joel Hanrahan in a trade with the Pirates. He’s provided the Red Sox with a reliable bat at the leadoff spot and can move all around the diamond with his versatility.
Still, MacPherson says the best case scenario for the Red Sox would be for Jackie Bradley Jr. and Daniel Nava to find their stroke, and for Shane Victorino to come back healthy — which even he admits is a tall task.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen [with the outfield] and that’s why Holt has been so valuable, because you’re not getting what you thought you’d be from these other guys.”
This prompted a question about Grady Sizemore, who MacPherson says could be the odd-man out when Shane Victorino does return, but right now it’s not imminent.
Fred follows the Cardinals closely, and he made reference to Allen Craig and Matt Carpenter in discussing Holt. Craig and Carpenter were also drafted in the later rounds, round 8 and round 13 respectively, and when they got their chance in the majors they just kept hitting and eventually landed permanent spots.
Holt may appear to be unheralded by the layman, but the Red Sox insist Holt was somebody they valued, and was not just a “throw in” in the Hanrahan deal. They like his plate approach, versatility and view him as a “Jed Lowrie-light” according to MacPherson.
Wallach and Fred believe Holt has earned the right to stay in Boston.
“I think Holt will continue to hit and the Red Sox would be silly to give him up. I think he belongs where he is now and they should find a spot for him if he continues to hit,” said Wallach.
“A likely scenario for him is that he’s just a strong utility player off your bench. He can play a bunch of positions. He’s played four positions, and if he played left I’m sure he could play right in a pinch. You need those kind of guys on your team,” said Fred.
“I think they should hang onto this kid, at least until he shows he can’t hit anymore. If he’s a flash in the pan he’s a flash in the pan,” Wallach concluded.
Listen below for the full discussion, including an update on Felix Doubront and Clay Buchholz:
MORE FROM TOUCHER AND RICH