||Born: June 11, 1988
Height: 5′ 10″
Drafted: 9th Round, 265th Overall, 2009
College: Rice University
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Holt played JC ball for two years at Navarro College, then transferred to Rice. Originally a shortstop, he moved to second because Rice had a star shortstop in Rick Hague. He had a solid, all-around offensive year for Rice, although he’s never likely to hit for so much power as a pro. The Pirates, consistent with their philosophy, have tried to develop him as a shortstop. Scouts, however, aren’t convinced he has the range and arm to stay there. He’s not exceptionally fast and hasn’t been a good base stealer in the minors.
Had a promising debut, improving rapidly after a slow start. His OPS by month from June to September was .570 (9 games), .781, .850 and 1.077 (6 games). He finished with 18 hits in last 42 ABs, with six walks and only two Ks. Overall, he didn’t hit LHPs well, with .655 OPS against them and .875 against RHPs, but the sample size was small. One word of caution: Holt had an OPS of .922 at home and .694 on the road. All of State College’s left-handed hitting regulars had similar splits. The right-handed hitting regulars hit better on the road, which is probably why the ballpark at State College isn’t a hitter’s park overall. On the season Holt had almost as many walks as Ks. He played 45 games at short and 18 at second, committing only nine errors, a good total for the level.
Holt missed a little time at the start of the season, but skipped level and took over as the shortstop at Bradenton. He was having an outstanding year when he suffered a torn meniscus in an infield collision with Adenson Chourio. (Ironically, Chourio was one of the smallest players in the system, even smaller than Holt, but wasn’t seriously hurt.) The injury cost Holt the season’s final three months. His excellent start included a 22-for-49 showing against LHPs. Another word of caution, though: Bradenton’s McKechnie Field is a hitters’ park, although the park factors show that it’s main effect is to help left-handed batters hit a lot more HRs. Holt had only one HR, so it’s hard to say what impact the park had on his numbers. In the field he had 14 errors in 57 games, all at short, and didn’t show good range.
Holt spent the season at Altoona. He played second initially, with Jordy Mercer at short, then split time between short and second with Josh Rodriguez. He had a solid season at the plate. He struggled against LHPs, with a .527 OPS against them and .813 against RHPs. His patience at the plate was pretty good. He tried to run more, but didn’t have a good success rate.
Holt fell victim to a roster crunch at the start of the 2012 season. With Mercer and Chase d’Arnaud slated to man the middle infield at Indianapolis, the Pirates sent Holt back to Altoona. He played short and had an outstanding season, although it became more and more baffling why he remained there. With Mercer in the majors, Anderson Hernandez was playing regularly in the infield for Indianapolis. Holt finally got promoted in August and got blistering hot, which won him a September callup. With Neil Walker hurt, Holt started at second initially and remained hot, hitting .375 in his first ten games. He played sparingly after that, getting only 25 ABs in the season’s last three weeks. He played second exclusively; when somebody besides Clint Barmes played short, it was usually Josh Harrison, who’s no more of a shortstop than Holt and who has far less experience there. Harrison also was the regular secondbaseman in the last three weeks when Walker was unavailable.
The Pirates’ handling of Holt–his long stay at Altoona despite the strong showing, and the strong preference for Harrison–suggests that they don’t have much regard for him. Since they apparently do like Harrison, this is hard to understand. They’re very similar players, except that Holt has very good plate discipline and Harrison has almost none. The Pirates have had a pattern under Clint Hurdle of calling up infield prospects and then seemingly forgetting they exist. The same thing has happened now to Holt, Mercer and Pedro Ciriaco. If they simply don’t think much of these guys, it makes sense that they wouldn’t play much, but then it’s hard to explain Harrison. He’s not a good defender and hasn’t hit much in a year and a half in the majors. Mercer is a good defender, can legitimately play short and has a little power. Holt probably isn’t noticeably better defensively, but there’s no apparent reason to expect him to hit for average less well than Harrison, and unlike Harrison he may draw a walk now and then. Holt should have a shot at a utility role in spring training in 2013, but the odds are he’ll head back to Indianapolis.