Analyitics

Friday, April 17, 2015

Brock Holt - Too Valuable to Start

Baseball is a funny game. On one hand, it seems very simple. Throw ball, hit ball, catch ball.  But part of the allure of the game is how complex the game actually is under that surface.

This came to mind yet again as I read Over the Monster's article What needs to happen for Brock Holt to play full-time for the Red Sox? The main point of the article is that the same thing that makes Holt valuable to the Sox – his above average versatility – will prevent him from being a starter. As Matt Collins writes:
Last season was his coming out party to the league, and he played almost literally everywhere. He logged 327 innings at third, 264-2/3 in right, 101 at short, 74 at second, 57-2/3 in center, 70-1/3 at first and 60 in left. He joined Denny Hocking as the only players since 1914 to play at least eight games at each position besides pitcher and catcher. One would think that would be enough to earn an everyday role somewhere, but on this team, Holt might be too valuable on the bench to have a consistent spot in the lineup.
This seems counter intuitive until you dive into the logic. As Collins details, in every position on the field, the Sox have better options then Holt at each single position, both as a starter and as a backup, but nobody that's a better option for ALL of the positions. (Catcher and Pitcher excluded, of course, but honestly i'd like to see Holt give those a go as well.) Holt's value as a backup extraordinaire outweighs his value at any single position. Bizarre. But at the end of the day, we're lucky to have a player like him - I have no doubt he'll prove his worth many times over the course of the season.

Cross Posted on Thought Ambience


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