Second baseman/shortstop Brock Holt, 21, from Rice University, who was the club's ninth round selection in the 2009 draft, signed in mid-June for $125K and went to earn his daily bread at State College.
He played 18 games at second base, 48 at shortstop, and committed only nine errors combined, while doing a good job with the bat, too.
Holt put together a line of .299/.361/.449, pretty nice for a middle infielder, and had six homers (one was a 420' blast), fourteen doubles, 33 RBI, and 45 runs scored in 254 at-bats, and was nine-of-nine stealing sacks. He puts the ball in play - Holt drew 26 walks, and was struck out just 31 times.
And that's after batting just .172 in June; he improved every month at the dish as he got used to ash instead of titanium bats. The mighty mite - he's 5-10, 165 pounds - was rewarded by being named to the New York-Penn League All-Star team.
Holt hit .348 with 12 home runs and 43 RBI in 59 games as a junior for Rice. He also led the Owls with 67 runs scored and shared the team lead with 11 stolen bases.
During his junior campaign he was named to the All-NCAA Regional Team and to the All-Silver Glove Trophy Series team. He has a rep as a scrappy, heady player, a throwback to the Phil Garner/Tim Foli days.
Holt has to prove that he can continue to deliver some pop from his pint-sized frame, but his glovework should help tide him over any rough stretches at the plate. And he has his work cut out for him. Shelby Ford, Brian Friday, Chase d'Arnaud, Jordy Mercer, and Jarek Cunningham are all ahead of him right now.
Although his age and performance would merit him a trip to Lynchburg, he'll probably have to wait until one of the middle infield prospects, d'Arnaud or Mercer, move to Altoona. We think he'll start 2010 in West Virginia.
(Next - Mike Dubee)