Holt Uses Failures and Fire to Progress Through Indians System
By Mike Brandyberry
For a player who focuses on his weaknesses and ways to improve, he sure has had a lot of success.
“I have to understand that this game should be called ‘failure,’ because you’re going to fail a whole lot more than you’re going to succeed,” Indians minor leaguer Tyler Holt said.
While Holt has suffered failures and setbacks like any professional baseball player, his success is quite noteworthy. Holt was promoted to Double-A Akron on July 5 in only his second full season as a professional.
Holt was a 10th round draft pick in the 2010 Amateur Draft by the Indians from Florida State. In 2009, he played for Team USA, hitting .371, with 28 runs scored and 24 walks. Last season at Single-A Kinston he was first in walks (78), third in stolen bases (34) and second in on-base percentage (.365).
Holt is a fast, scrappy, leadoff hitter and centerfielder. He tries to use his speed not just in the field, but also on the bases to put pressure on the defense. However, he feels part of his development and maturation is to focus on not trying to do too much on the bases or force plays.
“What gets me in trouble is maybe trying to force too much,” Holt said. “You got to learn to slow the game down. I try to be aggressive and see the game before it happens and not try to force something. When you’re trying to score a run from first to home, that probably isn’t going to happen.”
The biggest adjustment or change Holt has had to make has been the mechanics of his swing. Some of the mechanics of a productive amateur career, does not always translate to the professional game. After a hot start at Low-A Lake County in 2010, Holt has had to work to make changes at the High-A level, last season in Kinston and this year in Carolina.
“I think I started off hot and kind of got a little tired and had to fix a few things to better my swing,” Holt said. “Obviously, you’re going to go downhill a little during that. I feel like I understand what I need to do at the plate and my stance.”
He was forced to make adjustments in the Indians Instructional League last fall. They were very impressed with the adjustments he made over the winter. This season Holt hit .263, with 48 runs scored, 16 stolen bases and a .349 on-base percentage for the Carolina Mudcats. He attributes his continued success to work with Mudcats’ hitting coach, and former Major Leaguer, Scooter Tucker.
“The difficulty is you can’t be so hard headed,” Holt said. “There’s a lot of guys like me that are hard-nosed players who don’t want to listen, and sometimes you have to understand that people know what they’re talking about. Once you get past that and let people in, good things will happen.”
His hard-headedness goes along with his fiery attitude on the field. Holt has been known to wear his emotion on his sleeve and show his intensity on the field. While he likes the fiery label, controlling his emotions through the long, grind of a professional season, versus that of a quick college one, is very important.
“I do like that label. There’s also a bad side to that though,” Holt said. “The devil is that you show negative emotions too much. People vibe off of positive emotions and leadership. When you start thinking of me, me, me, that’s not the game.”
His focus to improve, deal with failure and passion for the game has led him to Double-A Akron in just over two years since being drafted. Holt was 2-for-5 in the leadoff spot in his debut Thursday evening for the Aeros. Regardless of outcome, however, Holt accepts that making it to the big leagues is a process that will take time.
“I feel like I’ve gone with the approach of if I can look in the mirror at the end of the day, whether I’ve gone 0-for-5 with three K’s or 4-for-4, and I can say I put in the extra work and gave everything on the field, then I can go to sleep at night,” Holt said. “If the results don’t show, I’m going to be upset, but I can put my head down and realize this is a process.”
Photo by Nikolaus © 2012 Carolina Mudcats