In this final edition of the Mid-Season Top 50 in Review the top ten prospects are analyzed. What…
MMLN – Another Rough Night For Holt
• Shawn Bowman's back is feeling much better and he should return to the lineup "in about a week" he says.
• As for Brad Holt's start, here is a rundown of his recent struggles:
- His fastball reached 95-96 MPH in the first and second inning but fell back to 91-92 MPH by the 4th-6th innings. But the biggest problem for Holt was that his fastball, which has virtually no movement, sat over the heart of the plate throughout the game. He got very little of the downward plain action he is used to which left many of his heaters belt high and easy to square.
- He predominately used a fastball/changeup combination throughout the game, throwing less than ten curveballs during the start and not one until the third inning. The curveball got away from him during this stretch and he appears a bit gun shy to use it. After the game, Hector Berrios acknowledged that getting Holt back to aggressive pitching and attacking with his curveball is a priority.
- He still has the feel for his changeup and the tempo is there with late movement, but on Friday its movement was inconsistent and that meant the ball stayed up in the zone.
- One factor which is significant to his current run of struggles is that Holt is shorting his delivery. At 6-foot-4, Holt's extension is such a pivotal piece to his game but on Friday he did not stay tall in his delivery and that caused him to lose extension and that ideal downward plain. That is another detail he and Berrios are focusing on.
• Ike Davis ripped his 9th home run since his promotion to the B-Mets, giving him 16 on the season and expanding his organizational lead. The biggest difference for Davis is the placement of his hands. Last season in Brooklyn and earlier with St. Lucie, Davis kept his hands about shoulder high (and even lower in Brooklyn). Now, he has his hands up near is ear.
That is paying big dividends for Davis who drops his hands in his load as he starts the bat through the zone. Before, when his hands were at his shoulders, he would drop the bat well below the ball which caused for a lot of pop-ups. Keeping his hands higher is compensates for that motion and allows Davis to drop the bat head on the ball and drive through the zone as he did on his home run.
• A change to Ruben Tejada's positioning in the box is helping his contact stroke and helping him put more balls in play. His front food and hands are more open than they were previously in the season and that is making him even quicker on the inner third. He is also choking up which is cutting down on his stroke.
Defensively, Tejada's footwork and release are much more refined, making his entire game faster. On a number of occasions, he showed of quick moves to his backhand and a strong throw from an even quicker release.
• Josh Thole's offensive game is well-documented. He chokes up, takes what the pitchers give him and simply puts the ball in play. The focus with Thole tonight was on defense. He threw out one would-be base runner and showed a much quicker release and even a bit more pop behind his throws. Opinions vary about Thole's ultimate role, but with the tools he showed tonight, combined with his ability to hit for average, as long as he maintains that skill to hit .300-plus and show even a measure of defense, he will get plenty of opportunities to start at the highest level.
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