Boston Red Sox player preview 2018: Brock Holt’s renaissance

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 01: Brock Holt
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 01: Brock Holt /

After seeing his plate appearances dip between the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Brock Holt must find his place on this Boston Red Sox team before it’s too late.

Brock Holt is set to become a free agent in 2020, meaning the Boston Red Sox need to figure out what he’s worth to the organization.  In 2014 and 2015, Holt looked like the team’s newest leadoff hitter.

According to Baseball-Reference, Holt had his largest sample size for plate appearances in those two seasons, where he hit around the .280 mark.

However, in the two years following that impressive run, Holt’s batting average dipped to .255, and his plate appearances also decreased.  Part of that has to do with the rise of Mookie Betts, while the other has to do with Holt’s production dropping off.

Former manager John Farrell experimented with putting him in different parts of the lineup on different nights.  Holt went from possible leadoff hitter, to utility man in a blink of an eye.  Despite this, the Sox still kept him because of his ability to play almost every position on the field.

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The only time Holt really started leadoff in the order was when the team’s other options were either having down years, or injured.  As Ben Porter said in his Boston Red Sox preview article, the Sox had a lot of problems int he order because of Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Dustin Pedroia all having unusually disappointing years.

Maybe new manager Alex Cora will give Holt more of a chance this year.  It all depends on what his vision is for the team, and whether or not he finds value in Holt’s ability to get on base.

Holt preview for 2018

If Betts and Pedroia return to form, I don’t see Holt becoming an option in the beginning portion of the lineup.  Now that they have J.D. Martinez, the Sox have a pretty solid one through five order.

Cora will still find value in Holt, especially for playing the outfield when one of the primary guys need a rest.  His versatility is what a lot teams lack in today’s MLB.

If he ends up batting seventh, then that will give him plenty of opportunity to add up his RBI total, and be the spark the the end of the lineup will need.

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If his average hovers around .200 again, then the front office will have to make a decision at the deadline.  If he returns to the sub .300 hitter he once was, then this could be a renaissance for a guy who had so much promise.