Texas Rangers: Brock Holt has always defied the odds
By Brian Sweet
10.5 percent, that’s the percentage of baseball players in college that actually make it into the big leagues after being drafted.
Texas Rangers‘ 2021 spring training non-roster invitee Brock Holt is part of that 10.5 percent, but his odds of making it were even less than usual coming from the small central Texas town of Stephenville.
Stephenville is not known for high school baseball, so scouts from colleges and pro teams never come to check out the players. Also, Holt is smaller than most professional athletes.
When Brock joined the baseball team in high school, he was a mere 5’1, about half the size of his teammates. What most Stephenville baseball fans didn’t realize was they were witnessing the rise of a World Series Champion.
Former Stephenville High School Baseball Coach Julio Jimenez told me that a college coach discovered Holt during a baseball game at a local junior college.
"“Skip told me, ‘I want that kid’ and I said ‘yeah, you better make sure you sign him now before the word gets out that he’s this good’, and he went and offered him a scholarship whenever he graduated.”"
Holt played baseball at Rice after two years at Navarro College and in 2009, the Pittsburgh Pirates picked him 265th overall in the ninth round and sent him to the Pirates Double-A affiliate, the Altoona Curve, two years later.
In 2012, Nate Field, a Boston Red Sox Scout, was watching a game between Altoona and New Britain and, by now, Holt had a batting average of .317 and was the leadoff hitter for the team.
On the day after Christmas in 2012, the Pittsburgh Pirates traded Holt to Boston. After spending a couple of years in the BoSox’ minor league system, the team called him up on May 17th, 2014 to replace injured 3rd baseman Will Middlebrooks.
Holt became a Red Sox fan favorite by being able to play every position except catcher and pitcher. In 2018, he continued to be a superb utility player for the Red Sox, including during the postseason, accomplishing a rare feat that no one else has ever done during the playoffs.
Holt became the first player ever to hit for the cycle during the postseason and accomplished what every baseball player’s goal is: winning the World Series.
Brock Holt has defied the odds over his career and brings those experiences to the Texas Rangers.
Skip Johnson, Oklahoma University Baseball Coach, told me that while Holt may not look like a traditional professional athlete, he’s not surprised Holt helped the Red Sox win the World Series.
"“What we get wrong in recruiting is how big their heart is. The kind of passion they play with and their concentration and hard work, the things that got him where he is today.”"
After the World Series win, Holt won’t just go down in sports history as one of the top utility players in the game of baseball but he also solidified himself as one of Stephenville’s best athletes.
So who do the Texas Rangers have in Brock Holt? A fighter, a hard worker and someone who has and continues to defy the odds.
For that, we can expect Brock Holt to make the Texas Rangers out of spring training.