Monday, March 28, 2016

Underrated Player of the Year: 2014

In this series, I look at one player per year from 1991-the present who came out of nowhere or had a great year that no one really noticed or expected.
Boston's acquisition of Joel Hanrahan for 2013 was one of those deals that just did not seem to work out well for the Red Sox.  They made a number of those trades, particularly for closers, over the years.  Mark Melancon turned into an All Star right away for Pittsburgh and Hanrahan went down for the rest of the year after just a handful of inconsistent games.  But there was a right spot as Brock Holt also came over in that deal.  

Holt had played in 24 games for Pittsburgh in 2012 and won the Triple A batting title before being traded to the Red Sox.  He made it into 26 more games in 2013, then broke out in 2014 as he played mostly regularly in the Majors for the first time.  Holt was officially a rookie in 2014 and even managed to finish eighth in the Rookie of the Year voting, though admittedly that was only one vote.

Versatility was the primary reason that Holt stuck around.  He played in 104 games for Boston, pretty much all over the field.  He played every position except pitcher and catcher, but spent most of his games at third base.  He really stepped up when Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts faltered at third.  He also made some impressive defensive plays.

On top of his defensive versatility, Holt actually could hit a little bit too.  He finished the season with a slash line of .281/.331/.381 with four home runs and 29 RBIs.  He lead the team in stolen bases with 12.  

Of course, the best was yet to come for Brockstar.  He would be named to the All Star team in 2015 while continuing to be a very versatile defender and good contact hitter.

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