In 2010, Tyler Holt was a member of the Lake County Captains Midwest League Championship team with a slash of .286/.409/.457.
That’s what first endeared me to the Florida State outfielder. Even though I’m not a Florida State fan, using the teams fight song as his walk-up music even made me feel good about him.
You won’t confuse him with someone who is a consistent .300 hitter or someone with any pop. In fact, he didn’t even hit a homer in 2012.
What Holt does best is get on base (.363 clip in the minors), run (in full seasons totals of 34, 29, 38, 31 and 25 triples), play defense (four runs saved, 3.4 UZR and a 25 UZR/150 in 189 innings between right and centerfield the big league level).
And he hits right-handed.
Yes, in 36 games his fWAR and bWAR was 0.3 and I don’t know if he’ll ever get too far above that if he was a regular.
While Bourn ranks still above average defensively (when he’s healthy), Brantley ranks about average metrically (even though the Indians grade him higher internally) Moss is above average and Murphy isn’t paid for defense, and we all know how great the Indians defense was in 2014…Holt kills two birds with his game.
The Indians will be counting on Ryan Raburn to come close to his .308/.403./.617 mark he posted in 2103 against left-handed pitching to offset the lefty heavy outfield. He certainly won’t be in the lineup for his defense.
If Raburn’s health wasn’t the only problem in 2014, Holt might be the Indians best option as an extra right-handed outfielder. He’s probably more capable of filling in for Bourn if he gets hurt or needs a day of rest (Brantley has a career -3 DRS in centerfield).
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There’s been a lot of debate who should hit second for the Indians. While Holt probably shouldn’t be a full-time starter unless out of necessity, he does provide the bat control, speed and approach to hit in that slot on days he is in the lineup. That would also allow the Indians to lead Holt off or possibly hit the switch hitting Jose Ramirez lower in the order, or lead off himself.
It also wouldn’t hurt the Indians to add a little more speed, defense and a gritty gamer to their bench. The odds are long because Terry Francona likes Raburn and if they keep Murphy, but Holt is the kind of guy who would fit nicely on a bench during a playoff series for late defense and speed. I think he could play a nice role if Raburn can’t repeat anything like 2013.