Holt Shakes Off Tough Stretch

Holt has been rough up a bit, but looks forward

BINGHAMTON, NY - It has been a rough stretch of starts for right-hander Brad Holt. After hitting his stride in Double-A, Holt has run into his first conflict this level. But it has not got him down as he continues to work hard and push through his recent struggles.

Just eight games into his Double-A career, Brad Holt has shown signs of why he is considered to be one of few "untouchable" prospects in the Mets organization.

Though his record and ERA may suggest otherwise—2-5 with a 5.36 ERA with Binghamton—Holt has looked unhittable at times with his mid-to-high-90s fastball and sharp-breaking curveball.

"Rolling my ankle set me back a bit," Holt said. "But since then everything has gotten back on the right track. My secondary stuff is coming along great so I can't complain."

The 22-year-old Holt rolled his ankle a couple of days after a dazzling Double-A debut in which the righty tossed 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball.

Holt would make his next start three weeks later and—for his following two starts—would struggle to regain his form. Holt would go 0-2 while pitching just 3 2/3 innings and allowing nine runs.

"They wouldn't let me start until [the ankle] was 100 percent better," Holt said. "The first outing when I came back was a little rough, but I just didn't have command of my pitches. The ankle was fine."

Holt would get back on track in his next three starts, going 2-1 with 24 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings while allowing just five earned runs, including a seven shutout inning performance at New Britain in which he would strikeout seven batters and walk just one. The strong stretch would also earn Holt Eastern League Pitcher of the Week honors.

"It's a little bit of everything," Holt said of his hot streak. "I've started to learn how to pitch inside and the times I've gotten it has just been being behind in the count and leaving a fastball up or being ahead in the count and leaving a breaking ball up."

Holt has not pitched as well in his last two starts, allowing 12 runs in 18 1/3 innings and walking six batters in his last start on Sunday.

One area of Holt's game that has remained consistent has been his demeanor on the mound. Just a season and a half into his professional career, Holt looks like a seasoned veteran when he pitches, rarely getting rattled or showing emotion.

Holt showed off that demeanor more than ever in a July 23 start against Connecticut in which he allowed four homeruns to the Defenders, including one to pitcher Tim Alderson. Holt would simply laugh off Alderson's homerun and would settle down to keep the B-Mets in the game—one which they would come back and win.

"When a pitcher has an outing like that, what I look for is his demeanor—how he controls his emotions," Oliveras said. "He was outstanding, even after the pitcher hit that homerun."

"That's something that we preach here, to control your emotions. If you can control your emotions, you're going to be successful no matter where you are," Oliveras said.

As for the rest of the season, Holt will look to keep improving his off-speed pitches.

"I've gotten to where I can throw my breaking ball for strikes any time," Holt said. "But a lot of times I'll leave it up, so we've been working on getting it down in the dirt—burying it—trying to get guys to chase."

Holt is also working on fine tuning his changeup.

"He's been outstanding," said Binghamton manager Mako Oliveras. "The way he's been pitching—he's just going to get better."

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