Holt Finds Comfort, Success In New Role

BINGHAMTON, NY - Brad Holt's recent history as a starter was full of struggles and inconsistencies. That rocky road led to a change of scenery with Holt moving to the bullpen. While such a move can be seen as demotion to some, Holt has taken on his new position with a breath of fresh air and a renewed energy. Look inside to see what has changed for the former first-round pick.

Brad Holt's struggles as a starting pitcher for most of the last two seasons have been well-documented, but maybe this relieving thing will provide the right formula for success.

Holt spent the first half of this season as a member of the B-Mets rotation, but after consistent struggles was moved to the bullpen at the end of June. The right-hander, who was demoted to St. Lucie in 2010 for similar control issues, wasn't surprised by the move to the pen.

"I felt like my starts were kind of falling into the same patterns, so I knew something was going to change," Holt said. "I didn't know if I was going to get sent down to figure some stuff out or if they were going to try me out in the bullpen, but I couldn't really pinpoint what was happening. A lot of starts I'd feel fine through the first three innings, but there was always that one inning where I'd lose control."

Holt had a hot start to the 2011 campaign, and didn't allow a run through his first 12 innings, but his lack of control inevitably caught up with him. Holt's ERA, which stood at 5.04 as a starter, was far higher than many expected for the Mets' first round selection of the 2008 Draft.

Despite the nature of the move, Holt saw the situation as more of an opportunity than a setback. With a fresh start in the bullpen, the 24-year old looked to succeed in his new role.

"When they told me about the move I was actually kind of looking forward to it as a fresh start and something new," he said. "Different mentality, different everything, so I wasn't mad I was actually looking forward to seeing how it went."

With more than a month in the pen under his belt, Holt has had success as a reliever, and in 20.2 innings the righty has surrendered only 16 hits. Twice he surrendered three runs to push his ERA to a deceiving 4.35, but over his 12 other appearances has allowed only 4 earned runs.

"Overall I've had good success," he said. "It's been better for me to able to come out of the pen. I'm seeing hitters more often rather than every five days, and I think that's played a role in throwing strikes and staying consistent."

For Holt, the most difficult part of the transition was establishing a consistent schedule. His workload was controlled by various restrictions, which included a limit on appearances in back-to-back games, but a quick adjustment helped get the ball rolling.

"It took some getting used to," he said. "The biggest thing was getting some sort of routine going in between appearances. They had me on some restrictions, so all of that helped in getting my feet wet and getting a feel for it. Since then everything's going good. It was easy to get going once I got a couple of appearances in."

Holt has followed up some initial struggles with plenty of quality outings. He hasn't allowed a run in seven of his last nine appearances, and didn't allow a hit in four. "My pitches are coming along," Holt said. "I felt like earlier in the year I was starting to lose my curveball but it's coming back to me now and it's sharp again. Overall I've been able to stay in the strike zone more consistently. I think it has to do with doing something different and coming in with a different mentality."

That new mentality has been a crucial piece of Holt's success, and has boosted his confidence when facing batters, and it's also paying off in the command of his pitches. Holt's recent history as a starter was littered with walks. However, the right-hander has issued just two free passes in his last 14 1/3 innings.

"I can go right after them," Holt says. The ‘go after them' mindset has worked for him, and focusing on his pitching has been easier with a new, narrowed focus.

"I don't have to worry about facing a certain hitter two or three more times during the game, so I don't have to worry about saving some pitches and not showing them everything in the first at bat," he said. "It's a total different kind of ballgame, but the main thing is that I'm throwing strikes again and not having those real wild innings and that's where the success is coming from."


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nBrad Holt's struggles as a starting pitcher for most of the last two seasons have been well-documented, but maybe this relieving thing will provide the right formula for success.\r\n

\r\nHolt spent the first half of this season as a member of the B-Mets rotation, but after consistent struggles was moved to the bullpen at the end of June. The right-hander, who was demoted to St. Lucie in 2010 for similar control issues, wasn't surprised by the move to the pen.\r\n

\r\n\"I felt like my starts were kind of falling into the same patterns, so I knew something was going to change,\" Holt said. \"I didn't know if I was going to get sent down to figure some stuff out or if they were going to try me out in the bullpen, but I couldn't really pinpoint what was happening. A lot of starts I'd feel fine through the first three innings, but there was always that one inning where I'd lose control.\"\r\n

\r\nHolt had a hot start to the 2011 campaign, and didn't allow a run through his first 12 innings, but his lack of control inevitably caught up with him. Holt's ERA, which stood at 5.04 as a starter, was far higher than many expected for the Mets' first round selection of the 2008 Draft.\r\n

\r\nDespite the nature of the move, Holt saw the situation as more of an opportunity than a setback. With a fresh start in the bullpen, the 24-year old looked to succeed in his new role.\r\n

\r\n\"When they told me about the move I was actually kind of looking forward to it as a fresh start and something new,\" he said. \"Different mentality, different everything, so I wasn't mad I was actually looking forward to seeing how it went.\"\r\n

\r\nWith more than a month in the pen under his belt, Holt has had success as a reliever, and in 20.2 innings the righty has surrendered only 16 hits. Twice he surrendered three runs to push his ERA to a deceiving 4.35, but over his 12 other appearances has allowed only 4 earned runs.\r\n

\r\n\"Overall I've had good success,\" he said. \"It's been better for me to able to come out of the pen. I'm seeing hitters more often rather than every five days, and I think that's played a role in throwing strikes and staying consistent.\"\r\n

\r\nFor Holt, the most difficult part of the transition was establishing a consistent schedule. His workload was controlled by various restrictions, which included a limit on appearances in back-to-back games, but a quick adjustment helped get the ball rolling.\r\n

\r\n\"It took some getting used to,\" he said. \"The biggest thing was getting some sort of routine going in between appearances. They had me on some restrictions, so all of that helped in getting my feet wet and getting a feel for it. Since then everything's going good. It was easy to get going once I got a couple of appearances in.\"\r\n

\r\nHolt has followed up some initial struggles with plenty of quality outings. He hasn't allowed a run in seven of his last nine appearances, and didn't allow a hit in four.\r\n \"My pitches are coming along,\" Holt said. \"I felt like earlier in the year I was starting to lose my curveball but it's coming back to me now and it's sharp again. Overall I've been able to stay in the strike zone more consistently. I think it has to do with doing something different and coming in with a different mentality.\"\r\n

\r\nThat new mentality has been a crucial piece of Holt's success, and has boosted his confidence when facing batters, and it's also paying off in the command of his pitches. Holt's recent history as a starter was littered with walks. However, the right-hander has issued just two free passes in his last 14 1/3 innings.\r\n

\r\n\"I can go right after them,\" Holt says. The ‘go after them' mindset has worked for him, and focusing on his pitching has been easier with a new, narrowed focus. \r\n

\r\n\"I don't have to worry about facing a certain hitter two or three more times during the game, so I don't have to worry about saving some pitches and not showing them everything in the first at bat,\" he said. \"It's a total different kind of ballgame, but the main thing is that I'm throwing strikes again and not having those real wild innings and that's where the success is coming from.\"\r\n

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