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Gritty Holt Earns Big League Promotion

Gritty Holt Earns Big League Promotion

| On 07, Jul 2014

Tyler Holt is headed to the big leagues. The Cleveland Indians announced Sunday that the 25-year-old outfielder has been called up from the Columbus Clippers to replace outfielder Michael Bourn, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.

The well-deserved promotion is a dream come true for Holt, who hit .300 with two home runs, 26 runs batted in, and 21 stolen bases, to go along with a .425 on-base percentage through 76 games split between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus this season.

Holt was rated best defensive outfielder in the Cleveland Indians system after the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and has been holding down center field in the Indians farm system since 2010. With this promotion, he will likely get a chance to defend on the same grass once graced by former Tribe defensive greats Grady Sizemore and Kenny Lofton. While Holt’s all-out, leave everything on the field defensive play has earned him some comparisons to Sizemore and Lofton, Holt sees himself as a player with a pretty impressive resume.

“Those guys are good but I’ve always been like a Dustin Pedroia kind of guy,” Holt said. “The guy that’s always counted out. The too small, can’t do this, can’t do that guy. So I’m just trying to be nothing special out there and do what I need to do to help the team win. Go 100% and see where that gets me.”

Holt starred at Florida State and played for Team USA in 2009 before being selected by the Indians in the 10th round (300th overall) of the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft. As a big college sports fan, it has been odd being a Seminole playing for the Clippers in Ohio State Buckeye Country the past few months.

“I haven’t worn any Florida State stuff yet,” Holt laughed. “You know, I might test the waters and wear something like a Florida shirt and see what happens but other than that I just keep my head down and head to the field.”

After being drafted, Holt signed quickly and appeared in 22 games with Lake County, where the the coaches began rebuilding his swing. It was a lengthy process that would last a year and a half, but the results were worth the wait.

Promoted to Kinston in 2011, Holt posted a .254 batting average, hitting two home runs and stealing 34 bases in 40 attempts. Holt began 2012 back in High-A ball with the Carolina Mudcats, the same level he played the entire 2011 season. In 81 games with the Mudcats, Holt was the team’s everyday center fielder and leadoff batter, hitting .263 with 10 doubles, seven triples, 22 runs batted in, and 16 stolen bases in 24 attempts. Holt’s progress earned him a mid-season promotion to Double-A Akron, where he hit .250 with 13 stolen bases in 17 attempts for the Eastern League Champion Aeros.

“Towards the end of last year I was working on my swing with Jimmy (Rickon) who’s here this year and Rouglas (Odor) in Akron, who reemphasized slow and early so you’re always on time, and that’s kind of what hitting is,” says Holt. “Our hitting coach does the same things where if you’re on time, balanced, and ready to hit every time, then you should have better success with numbers. It obviously increases your chances of putting barrel to the ball.”

In 2013, Holt returned to Akron where he would spend the entire season. In 133 games, Holt hit .267 with 24 doubles, nine triples, two home runs, 42 runs batted in, and 28 steals in 35 attempts.

Holt once again began the 2014 campaign in Akron, but after posting career highs in batting average (.298) and on-base percentage (.416) through 39 games, Holt got the phone call he worked so hard for – a promotion to Columbus.

“I’m not done yet, but it feels good to be here, especially with these guys. It makes it an easier transition”, said Holt on his promotion to Columbus. “These guys want to win just as bad as you, so it has been a lot of fun.”

When asked what he needs to work on to continue to press the Indians organization as a potential piece at the next level, Holt said, “I’m always learning, always keeping my eyes open, and trying to get better every day. I think if you do that it’s a good day’s work.”

That attitude just earned him his biggest promotion yet – to the big leagues. What’s next for Tyler Holt? With his motor, passion, and love for the game, the sky is the limit.

Photo: Eamon Queeny/Columbus Dispatch