Tyler Holt: Outfield Depth or Something More?

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Aug 15, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians right fielder Tyler Holt (62) fields a ball hit by Baltimore Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop (not pictured) during the third inning at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Will Tyler Holt’s Role Expand in 2015?

During the course of any season a handful of players come in and out of our lives. They’re their just long enough for us to begin growing fond of or frustrated with their play and before becoming forgotten once more in the doldrums of the minor league system. Such was the case of outfielder Tyler Holt; a scrappy young player that endeared himself to Tribe fans through grit and determination.

Jul 6, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians right fielder Tyler Holt (620 makes his major league debut in the ninth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

For everything that went wrong for the Indians throughout the course of the 2014 season, the rise of Tyler Holt as a serviceable fill-in was a bright spot. In 36 games for the Tribe spread out through several ups and downs from the minors, Holt put up respectable numbers for someone getting their first taste of big league action. In 76 plate appearances totaling 71 official at bats, Holt put together a slash line of .268/.307/.296. Again, these numbers are not going to turn heads and make you declare him the second coming of Willie Mays, but they were decent enough to show signs of promise, if nothing else.

Then again, maybe the Willie Mays comparisons aren’t so ridiculous based on the defensive mix tape Holt put together throughout the course of the season. The Willie Mays thing is a joke. Calm down, everyone pounding angrily on their keyboard right now.

What I’m trying to say is, Tyler Holt did not embarrass himself during his time with the big league club. Again, nothing about Holt’s slash line or the two lone RBI to his name are enough to grant him a spot on the 2015 Opening Day roster. What I am simply saying is that when the Indians needed someone to fill in over the course of a week to ten days, Holt was reliable enough.

That begs the question, however. Have we seen the best of Tyler Holt, or is the best still yet to come? Is Tyler Holt’s ceiling with this franchise yet to be determined or will he be the next in a long line a Quad-A talent to pass through town?

That is something that, unfortunately, we will have to learn over time. As things currently stand, his sample size is simply to small and the opportunities available will be few and far between. Between the guaranteed contracts to David Murphy and Ryan Raburn, the hefty salaries of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn, and the newly acquired Brandon Moss all taking away at bats and time in the field, it is unlikely we will see Holt much in 2015, barring injuries.

And that’s the real kicker here. Injuries.

Based on history and the age of the aforementioned players, injuries are going to happen. That means that a plethora of opportunities for Tyler Holt should present themselves throughout the course of the season. It’s with those opportunities that we should learn more about him as a player. Can he figure out major league pitching and cut down on the strikeouts? Will he develop any power? Will he continue to show spectacular defense in the outfield? It will be interesting to see, that’s for sure.

Of course, Holt won’t be alone when it comes to vying for playing time at the big league level. Carlos Moncrief, Tyler Naquin, maybe even Clint Frazier if he suddenly develops into Mike Trout, and any other number of signings could be breathing down his neck. Simply put, if he makes his way back onto the Indians big league roster at some point during the 2015 campaign, he’s going to have to do enough, and then some, in order to keep himself there.

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