Holt's defense and all out approach has people taking notice
Canal Park received a makeover this past offseason with a brand new state-of-the-art video scoreboard, and Tyler Holt has put the video screen to good use.
Holt, a 24-year-old alumnus of Florida State University, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 10th round of the 2010 Draft. He spent his first season in the organization with the low-A Lake County Captains and has progressed through the levels ever since.
Now, Holt resides with the double-A Akron Aeros, where he has played through a portion of last season. The centerfielder is currently hitting .268 with 10 RBIs, 23 walks, 29 strikeouts, eight stolen bases and a pair of home runs through 48 games.
Just as admirable is his defense, which tends to have Holt featured on the Aeros’ highlight reel rather frequently. He can be seen diving flat-out or crashing into walls for fly balls, something that he’s done as long as he can remember.
“You kind of just know,” Holt said. “I’ve been an outfielder since I was a little guy so I kind of know how to take hits and what to do. It’s kind of just repetition and it just comes naturally.”
Holt says he’s not stopping or slowing down his game despite the risks involved. Another centerfielder once graced the confines of Canal Park and played in a similar fashion – but Holt vows to avoid Grady Sizemore syndrome at all costs. His pledge to give full-fledged effort every play leaves him sore after every game, but he makes sure to do the little things to stay healthy and stay in tact.
“There’s some certain things that I can do to take care of my body a little better,” he explained. “Maybe [I can do] a little more stretching, a little more smart weight lifting. Maybe those things are a little more preventative pre and post, but during the game it’s inevitable.”
Aeros’ manager Edwin Rodriguez has coached Holt since last season, when Holt was with the high-A Carolina Mudcats to start the year, and Rodriguez expects nothing less than 100 percent from his outfielder.
“He’s all over the place,” Rodriguez said. “He’s one of the best, he’s very aggressive, he’s in the game, he gets good jumps and he brings a lot of energy offensively and defensively.”
Rodriguez said he’d rather see Holt take risks than slow down, as trying to stop one’s self is a risk in itself.
“If you’re preprogrammed to play that way, if you try to slow down, you might get hurt,” Rodriguez noted. “You have to go out there every day and play your 100 percent every day. If you’re holding back in any position, pitching, hitting, defensively, chances are you’re going to get hurt.”
With his defensive strategy on lock, Holt is now aiming his focus on his offensive routine. He’s working on maintaining consistent at-bats with a steady mindset, something that he knows will be beneficial during the long season.
“Sometimes you over think a lot and that’s when you get in holes,” he said. “Just see the ball, hit the ball. As simple as it sounds, that’s the name of the game.”
The name of Tyler Holt’s game is go hard or go home. So far, his strategy has fared well for him as he’s projected himself as one of the Indians’ most promising outfield prospects.
From crashing into walls to wreaking havoc on the base paths, he’s not slowing down. In fact, he’s speeding toward Cleveland, hoping to crash into the walls within the confines of the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.