Published on September 5th, 2012 | by John Friend0
Pirates’ Brock Holt Making Most of September Call-Up
Brock Holt is becoming quite the story in Pittsburgh, as he’s winning over fans and coaches since his promotion to the big leagues. When the Pirates announced their September call-ups on September 1, Holt made the list as a surprise to many and has not looked back since.
Holt, 24, was the Pirates’ ninth-round selection in 2009 and has spent the last four seasons working his way up through the Pirates’ farm system. After being drafted, Holt was assigned to Class-A State College and played 66 games there while batting .299 with six home runs and 33 RBI.
In 2010, Holt started his season in Class A+ Bradenton and was off to quite the start before suffering a season-ending knee injury. Holt batted .351 and had an OBP of .410 through 47 games before the injury.
Holt recovered and played the entire 2011 season with the Altoona Curve. A shortstop by trade, Holt played 33 games at short and 98 games at second base for the Curve. He batted .288 with one home run, 40 RBI and 18 stolen bases to go along with a .356 OBP.
Due to a log jam at shortstop in AAA Indianapolis, Holt started the 2012 season in Altoona. Both Chase d’Arnaud and Jordy Mercer were playing every day for Indianapolis until later in the season, which is exactly when Holt forced the Pirates to promote him due to his hot bat.
Through 102 games with Altoona, Holt batted .322 with two home runs, 43 RBI and 11 stolen bases. He was promoted to AAA Indianapolis in August and did not take his foot off the pedal, proceeding to hit .432 through 24 games with a .476 OBP. The Pirates noticed in a big way and rewarded Holt with a September call-up to the majors.
Though Holt is not on the 25-man playoff roster, he has and will continue to help the Pirates in their quest to the playoffs throughout September. With Neil Walker on the bench with back issues, Holt has found himself in the starting lineup in the last three games.
Holt has been in the leadoff spot in every game he has started and on Tuesday night had a breakout performance, going 4-for-5 and scoring twice. Through 14 at-bats with the Pirates, Holt has six hits (.450 average). The Pirates direly need someone other than Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez to contribute to the offense and so far Holt has not disappointed.
Holt put up great batting average and on base percentage numbers throughout his minor league career and there is nothing in his approach to suggest he will not do the same in the majors.
“He can just hit, He’s not the biggest guy. He’s not the fastest or the strongest or anything like that. But he knows what he can do, and he doesn’t try to do anything he can’t.”
- Jeff Locke, Holt Provides Jolt in Leadoff Spot (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
It would not be far off to compare Brock Holt and Alex Presley at the times of their big league promotions. Before being promoted in 2011, Presley dominated Class-AA (.350 average) and -AAA (.333 average). When Presley was promoted to the majors he went on a tear, batting .333 through his first 20 games. At the time, Presley was absolutely locked in, slapping the ball to fall fields with an incredible approach at the plate.
If the Pirates can get 20 more games of that kind of production out of Holt, it would go a long way. When Walker returns from his back issues, it is possible that Holt could replace shortstop Clint Barmes in the lineup.
Even though his offensive numbers are worth sacrificing Clint Barmes’ superior defensive play, Barmes must continue to get some playing time down the stretch. Holt cannot play in the postseason as he is not on the 25-man roster, meaning that Barmes needs to receive playing time in order to stay sharp in case the Pirates do make the playoffs.
The Pirates have not had any success at the leadoff spot in 2012, as Alex Presley (.278 OBP), Jose Tabata (.303) and Starling Marte (.287) all have terrible OBP’s. If Holt continues to get on base and set the table for the lineup, the hot bat will play, regardless of who is in the way.