Stephenville alumnus Brock Holt continues to impress with the Boston Red Sox
By Ryan Cox –
Brock Holt is making the most of his opportunities since being recently called up by the Boston Red Sox.
Holt, a 2006 graduate from Stephenville High School, was promoted to the Red Sox from Triple-A Pawtucket on July 6 and made his Red Sox debut in Los Angeles against the Angels while starting at third base.
This was not the first time Holt had received every baseball player’s dream of getting the call to the major leagues, but for Holt, the emotions were the same as the first time.
“It was exciting again, no doubt about it. Every guy playing baseball, no matter what age, his goal is to get to the big leagues. So for me to get the chance again was a great feeling,” Holt said.
After getting drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth round of the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Holt flew through the Pirates’ minor league system, including winning the MVP of the 2011 Eastern League All-Star Game, en route to his promotion in September to make his big league debut.
Holts’ tenure with the Pirates did not last long, though. In December of 2012, Holt was part of a six-player trade, with the Pirates sending him and fellow teammate Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox.
After appearing in 24 games for the Pirates in 2012, the trade came as a bit of a shock to Holt as a 24-year-old rookie at the time, but he could not be happier about his opportunity to play for the Red Sox.
“It was kind of a surprise to me, but also exciting at the same time,” said Holt. “It’s a fresh start with a great organization.”
Since joining the Red Sox, Holt has had to become more versatile defensively. Drafted as a second baseman out of Rice University, that is where Holt’s comfort zone is defensively. But as any baseball fan would be quick to point out, second base for the Red Sox belongs to fan-favorite and former American League MVP Dustin Pedroia. So to get Holt on the field, he had to learn how to play third base, a position he had never played before.
“I took a lot of reps at third during Spring Training and worked a lot with infield coach Brian Butterfield,” said Holt. “I played a little at third base while I was in Triple-A, but the more reps I get over there, the more comfortable it is becoming.”
The transitions for Holt from not only a new team, but from second base to third have been made easier for him thanks in large part to the veteran presence in the club house from so many players on the Red Sox. “They’ve all been great,” noted Holt. “As soon as I got to Anaheim, they welcomed me and made me feel like part of the team from the get go. That helped me out a lot confidence wise.”
As of now, Holt doesn’t know how long he will stay up with the big league club in Boston with short stop Stephen Drew set to come off the disabled list shortly after the All-Star break. But for Holt, he’s not worried about that decision and knows he can only play his game.
“I haven’t heard anything yet,” said Holt about whether he will be optioned back down to Triple-A Pawtucket. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen when he (Stephen Drew) comes back. I tried to come in and play my game and hopefully open some eyes.”
In his nine games since being called up with the Red Sox, Holt has certainly garnered some attention for what he has done offensively. Holt is hitting a respectable .300 in 30 at-bats, along with eight RBIs. Holt has also had early success against some of the toughest pitchers in the game, including hits off All-Stars Jered Weaver, Bartolo Colon, and Felix Hernandez.
Holt is not the only one to enjoy an impressive first half to the season, as the Boston Red Sox hold a 58-39 record, tops in the American League. Holt knows what the Red Sox need to do to maintain the momentum going into the second half.
“This is a good group who has been playing well from the start,” said Holt. “We just have to continue to do what we’ve been doing all year. There’s some veteran leadership on the team that do a good job of keeping things loose and fun.”
As for Holt himself in the second half, he’s just trying to keep it simple. “I’ve just got to stick to my approach and not try to do more than I’m capable of. I just go out and play my game, try and get good pitches to hit and put a barrel on them.”
Being from a small town like Stephenville, Holt has constant support from everyone back home and from his family. One of Holt’s biggest fans is his sister, Shelby, a 2013 graduate and nursing major from Tarleton State University. For Shelby, she couldn’t be happier for her brother.
“It’s really exciting and fun to watch him play in the big leagues and to see the dreams he’s had his whole life come true,” said Shelby. “It means the world to my family and I, because we’ve watched him work so hard to get to where he is now, and we’re so proud of him and all his success.”
Holt is known for being one of the nicer guys around. After all, his bio on his Twitter page only says “I’m nice to people.” So of course when asked about what the support means to him, he thought of others first.
“The best part about this whole thing is getting to share it with my family and friends. The support from back home means the world.”
Ryan Cox is a junior Broadcast Journalism student from Granbury, Texas. He currently serves as the summer Sports Editor for Texan News Service.