Brock Holt still hasn’t fallen back down to earth.
Holt, who burst onto the scene earlier this season, continues to thrive for the Boston Red Sox regardless of where he’s stationed on the diamond. It’s possible the 26-year-old has earned a significant 2015 role with the Red Sox, even if the nature of that role remains very much undefined.
“So much of Brock’s role is going to depend on our roster,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Tuesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. “But I will say this, if he’s in a versatile role, he’s still going to get a lot of playing time, as he’s done throughout this year.”
Holt has played every position this season besides pitcher and catcher. He also has bounced around with great effectiveness, adjusting well defensively and performing at a high level offensively out of the leadoff spot despite the uncertainty that comes with his job as a superutility player. Any notion of Holt simply being the flavor of the month — or year — is becoming harder to justify, as he’s consistently proven throughout 2014 that he belongs in the majors.
Determining where Holt fits into Boston’s future plans is nearly impossible. Yoenis Cespedes, Rusney Castillo, Allen Craig, Shane Victorino, Daniel Nava, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts comprise a crowded outfield picture, though it’s obviously possible the Red Sox could move one or more of those players. Boston also has first base (Mike Napoli), second base (Dustin Pedroia) and shortstop (Xander Bogaerts) covered, with Will Middlebrooks currently trying to prove himself as a legitimate major league third baseman. If there’s one thing the Red Sox have learned this season, however, it’s that depth is critical. And having a versatile player, like Holt, is invaluable over the course of a 162-game grind.
“That’s where his versatility starts to keep us in a thought of moving him around,” Farrell said. “That way we can spell a number of guys and build in some rest.
“The way he played shortstop (Monday) night, you could say, ‘My gosh, this is a guy that’s a left-handed-hitting shortstop, a leadoff-type guy.’ Could you say he’s more valuable in that position?”
While Holt probably could carve out a more constant starting role — playing one or two positions versus seven — if he was on another team, the Red Sox’s roster construction, which is yet to be determined for 2015, could mean another year of shifting all over the place. If that’s the case, the Red Sox’s trust in the hard-nosed utility man is apparent.
“I think when you look back at his minor league track record, this is someone that’s hit at every level in pro baseball,” Farrell said. “And he’s had everyday at-bats here so opposing teams are going to game plan against him. And yet he’s maintained all the at-bats throughout his time. He’s building a very solid foundation for himself.”
Holt isn’t a player you build your team around. But he’s a player who makes building a more complete team that much easier.