Acquired: 2010 MLB Draft, 6th Round
Ranking History: #22 (2010), #37 (2011)
Holaday was the Tigers sixth round pick in June 2010 and signed after TCU completed their run through the College World Series. After signing, Holaday hit .220 in 44 games with High-A Lakeland.
The following season the Tigers pushed the then 23-year old Holaday to Double-A Erie where he struggled to adjust to the pro game, batting just .242 with 18 doubles and seven home runs in 95 games for the SeaWolves. Despite his offensive struggles, Holaday managed to gun down 34% of would-be base stealers.
The Tigers promoted Holaday again in 2012, this time sending him to Triple-A Toledo where he continued to struggle offensively, hitting just .240 in 75 games. Again, despite his offensive struggles, Holaday gunned down 34% of base stealers.
During the 2012 season, Holaday made his Major League debut with four games in June and two more in October, serving as the team's backup catcher. In those six games, Holaday hit .250 with a double.
From his build to his defense, his leadership to his bat, Holaday is the quintessential backup catcher. Holaday draws most of his praise for outstanding natural leadership abilities. He commands the infield and his pitching staff well and understands the game at a high level.
Despite a strong reputation for outstanding defense coming out of college, Holaday has had to put in considerable work to polish and adjust his game to the speed of the professional level. He has improved his ability to block pitches in the dirt, moving better to both sides and drawing at least average grades from most scouts. He has good footwork and a quick transfer that helps him control the running game and his overall defensive projection rests in the above-average range.
Holaday doesn't offer much at the plate, outside of the occasional quality at-bat and enough strength to shoot a ball to the gap every once in a while. His swing isn't pretty and doesn't lend to hard contact. He tends to foul off too many hittable pitches and will expand his zone, trying to do too much at times.
Holaday has good strength in his frame but his swing plan lends more to ground balls and the occasional line drive than it does hard liners. He is a decent situational hitter that can help an old-school manager at the bottom of the order. Like most catchers, Holaday is a below-average runner.
Without much offensive projection, Holaday has no chance to be an everyday catcher in the big leagues. He can sit in the eighth or ninth spot in the order and catch one or two games a week to keep a team's regular catcher fresh, but that's about his ceiling.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% AAA
Holaday hasn't had any significant injuries and given his likely workload will remain in the 30-50 games per year range; he shouldn't have any issues with durability or wearing down.
Holaday has very little left to accomplish in the minor leagues. His bat, while poor, is maxed out and his glove has developed to a point where it can help a Major League club. Holaday is the type of up-and-down catcher that every club needs and will need a bit of luck to settle into a long term role on the 25-man roster.
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