#13: Brad Holt Scouting Report

Holt wants to bounce back from a tough 2010 season

The 2010 season hardly went as planned for former first round pick Brad Holt. A year which could have elevated him to New York turned out to be the opposite as he spent the second half of the season back in St. Lucie. Yet, Holt remains positive despite his struggles. Look inside for an exclusive Q&A with Holt and the following scouting report.

Vital Statistics
Name: Brad Holt
DOB: October 13, 1986
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 194
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Status: 1st Round (2008) – University of North Carolina-Wilmington

InsidePitchMagazine.com: Overall, the 2010 season did not go the way you wanted, but what are your thoughts about the year you had?

Holt: It was not how I pictured the year going. I had high expectations going into the year and it just kind of stayed the same all year. I was bad the whole year. I was healthy; it was just all mental you could say. I was staying healthy. My bullpens went okay, but once I got in the game and one thing happened everything seemed to snowball from there. It seems like it almost got worse when I got to St. Lucie. We were trying different things with matchups and tweaking mechanics, trying to find an answer somewhere but nothing seemed to work.

After the season was over, I went home for about a week and a half before I went down to Instructs and I think that time allowed me to clear my head. When I got down to Instructs it felt like everything was back to normal.

Inside Pitch: You mentioned that this season was a mental battle for you. Was it a matter of not trusting your stuff? Not trusting your mechanics? What do you think was the mental block? Do you feel like you are able to drill down was the problem was?

Holt: Honestly, I still don't know how to pinpoint it. I had scouts coming up to me to ask me and each time it was like "I don't know". It was just a bad year mentally. I had plenty of times where I'd cruise for two, three, four innings and then I'd just start throwing the ball to the backstop. I just couldn't get it all clicking. There was no real answer to it. It was probably just something in the back of my head that would make me hiccup.

Inside Pitch: As far as your mechanics and your pitches, you feel like everything was there? Were you confident with the quality of your pitches?

Holt: Yea I do. We would watch videos to compare what I was doing this year to the last few years and there wasn't anything dramatic. I knew there was a little something in my delivery that needed to be worked out, but it was nothing that would make me pitch so poorly. I wasn't getting quite as much extension as I was the year before. The velocity was down, but there was nothing in my delivery that would specifically cause that. Maybe I was leaking open a bit which gave me problems getting to the outside corner, so it really wasn't anything large that stood out.

Inside Pitch: Between Binghamton and St . Lucie, was there any lesson or advice that coaches tried to give you that you could lean on?

Holt: No, not really. It was kind of the same as the coaches told me to keep my head up. Baseball is a game of failure. I wasn't pitching very well so I understood that, but it was frustrating that I'd have a good outing and then follow that up with a string of poor outings. I know in the back of my mind I'm better than the year I had. It felt like it was never going to click so I just tried to stay as positive as I could. I think some time off after the season really helped because when I got to Instructs I feel like a lot of it was cleaned up. When I got to Instructs the coaches told me to pitch how I was comfortable and when I did I started throwing strikes in the way I expect from myself. Rick Tomlin and Marc Valdes talked to me about doing what feels natural, but otherwise they kind of left me alone and let me do what's comfortable.

Inside Pitch: Looking at the numbers, you didn't give up a lot of home runs (6 total in 2010) and the hits per innings weren't terrible, but the walks were very high. Do you feel that not giving up so much big contact is at least a silver lining?

Holt: Walks obviously killed me no matter what. Then again, that was the mental side of it. That's when I'd cruise through three innings then come out, walk three guys, throw a ball to the back stop and a couple runs would score. That's when I knew it was mental and not really too much about mechanics or stuff. It would basically be a break down in one inning.

Inside Pitch: Despite it all, you got a spot in the Arizona Fall League. Can you sum your experience there?

Holt: It was a great experience. Terry Collins told me during Instructs that I'd be going out there, so I was excited, especially because I was throwing better and had my confidence level up. I felt like I learned a lot and the team was a great group of guys. Pitching against the competition was good for me. Being able to throw like I had been in the past was important and I think the experience taught me how to pitch better. I ended up leaving early because my arm just started getting tired. It had been a long year and I think my arm was just sore. I didn't take enough time to warm up my last couple turns out there, and I had pitched out of the bullpen in a long time. I wasn't quite sure how to warm-up so I feel like I rushed a little too much and made my arm sore. There's no injury, it was just precautionary to send me home. I feel like it got me on track and heading back in the right direction to start next season.











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Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Changeup

Fastball: Holt's fastball velocity swung wildly at times last season. He worked 88-93 MPH though average 91 MPH. It remains a significant decrease from the 95 MPH velocity he showed during his first season. If Holt can regain 91-93 MPH and increase the consistency of the run on the fastball – which he only flashed last season – he will have the heater he needs to be success at the minor league level and above. When his fastball command is off, the rest of his game suffers. In 2010, Holt's fastball was all over the strike zone which evaporated the base of his game. His fastball is at its best when he has proper extension and can drive the fastball down in the zone.

Other Pitches: Like his fastball, Holt's curveball was simply off from a lack of command. Yet, also like his fastball, when he's going right the curveball has plus potential. Thrown in the high-70s to low-80s, Holt's curveball has late break with high three-quarters tilt that has swing-and-miss potential when he finishes properly. When he does not, the curveball flattens and softly loops over the heart of the plate. Holt's changeup is a low-80s offering that flashes drop, but like everything else he struggled with command last season. He has good arm speed, but he needs to drive harder through the pitch to generate the drop that can make it an effective ground ball pitch.

Pitching: Holt was very much out of sorts in 2010 and his approach and pitchability suffered from it. His lower fastball velocity has diminished its swing-and-miss prowess, which will force Holt to develop a better mix for his repertoire. Though he was a pure power pitching during his first season, Holt now simply needs to establish the count with his fastball and get ahead with his secondary stuff. Extension is pivotal to his success because without it the quality of his pitches and command suffers. He has the strength and stamina to go deeper into games, but his ineffectiveness last season prevented him from doing so.

Projection: Holt's 2010 numbers may make one believe he is far away from the big leagues or simply that he has regressed to the point where he is no longer a priority. That notion is flat out false. Holt's value remains higher in scouting circles than any public perception. Holt is the first to admit 2010 was a disappointing year – to put it lightly. Nevertheless, when in rhythm, Holt still has the repertoire to back up his physical traits that can make him a big league asset. His projection as a starter has diminished not only due to his poor season, but because his "lost" 2010 year took away from his ability to further develop the changeup.

ETA: 2012. Holt's timeline got pushed back by last season's performance, and until he straightens his game out his arrival date could continue to move farther away. Holt should return to Binghamton to start 2011, but the organization is not going to rush him. Most likely, the organization will allow him to right the ship in 2011 before having him compete for a bullpen spot in 2012.

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