Scouting Report: RHP John Holdzkom

The New York Mets drafted towering right-handed hurler John Holdzkom, 6-foot-8, in the fourth round of the 2006 MLB Draft out of Salt Lake Community College. Armed with a fastball in the upper-90's in his amateur days, his professional debut didn't go as well as the Mets would have liked but he still has one of the better fastballs in the organization. Here's a scouting report on John Holdzkom.

Vital Statistics:
Name: John Holdzkom
Position: Relief Pitcher
DOB: October 19, 1987
Height: 6'8"
Weight: 275
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"The talent level is what I expected," Holdzkom said of his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League. "I think I was my own worst enemy. In the beginning of the season I wasn't concentrating as much as I should have. Sometimes I was too analytical on the mound."

He went 2-5 with three saves and a 7.71 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Mets and walked 20 batters in just 20 1/3 innings.

While the walk totals were very discouraging, especially as the team's closer, the fact is his walks came in bunches. 80 percent of his walks were issued in just six of his appearances and mental lapses were the main culprit.

"It was like a story of two seasons," said the California native. "My first half was awful and my second half was okay. That's when I started to pick up you need to be focused all the time and learn hitter's tendencies."

After beginning the season with an incredible 11.70 ERA in his first ten appearances, Holdzkom turned a corner and finished the year with a 1.04 ERA in his final six games.

"The biggest thing I learned is you have to stay focused 100 percent of the time when you're pitching," said Holdzkom. "You can't let your mind run on different things. You've got to focus on each batter and each pitch. That's the biggest thing I learned. You have to throw strikes and not get behind in the count and be 2-0 on every batter you face."

"I just think it came from, when a batter stepped to the plate, I wouldn't be concentrating on the first couple of pitches," he continued. "I would just throw and not have a location in mind. I would be like 'uh-oh, it's 2-0, now it's time to bear down'."

Armed with a fastball that was clocked as high as 98 MPH and sat comfortably sat around 94 MPH, he simply didn't display that kind of velocity in his professional debut and that hurt him as well. He mostly sat in the low-90's and topped out at 94 MPH with the GCL Mets.

"I hope it comes back in Spring Training," he said of his velocity, scrambling to come up with reason for the lost velocity. "A lot of pitching over the course of the year [combined with college] and I was out of shape in the GCL."

Perhaps the biggest disappointment in Holdkom's proffesional debut, even more so than the lost veloctiy, was the shape he reported in when he signed with the Mets.

Listed a generous 225 pounds upon signing, he was clearly overweight in the Gulf Coast League and looked every bit of 275 pounds.

"It all started in junior college," he said of showing up out of shape. "I wasn't getting along with my coach and I wasn't sure I was going to get drafted as high as I did. I just figured [at that point] I might not play pro baseball this year and would have to wait until next year. I guess I didn't stay as motivated as I should have."

Holdzkom was used primarily as a reliever last season, pitching two innings or less in all but one of his appearances. He compliments his plus fastball with a good slider and an inconsistent changeup.

"I have a chaneup that's more of a hit or miss pitch," he revealed. "Sometimes it can be pretty good and other times it's not there. Having a consistent offspeed pitch is my biggest need for improvement. I don't even throw a curveball at all."

Considering his size and limited repertoire, most scouts project him as a big league reliever some day, a role that suits Holdzkom just fine.

"I kind of got to liking the closer role," he admitted. "It's fun going in there in the last inning needing to shut the door. I like that aspect. I'll still giving starting another try because that's also fun, being able to face hitters more than once a game, but I'd like to be a closer."

With a self-confessed disastrous professional debut in his rear view mirror, he is simply looking forward to turning things around as quickly as possible and get back on track.

"My goal is to make the low-A roster," Holdzkom said of his goals for 2007. "I don't know how realistic it is with the numbers I had last season. I just want to go into Spring Training and throw more strikes and hopefully get my velocity back."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2006

GCL

2-5

3

23.1

28

20

23

7.71



Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Holdzkom normally is an elite power pitcher with a fastball that can reach the 98 MPH plateau pretty consistently, even sitting comfortably between 94-95 MPH. As noted above though, his velocity took a hit in his professional debut. He throws primarily four-seam fastballs up in the zone and he'll need to throw more sinking two-seamers to help keep balls down.

Other Pitches. Holdzkom throws a slider that served as his strikeout pitch in the Gulf Coast League last season, but he has very inconsistent command of it at times. He has a hard time throwing it for called strikes and often times winds up throwing it in the dirt for swinging strikes or wild pitches (he had 16 wild pitches last year), a facet of his game that will need to be cleaned up as he moves up the minor league ladder. He compliments his repertoire with a developing changeup that is also quite inconsistent. It has the potential to be good if he can learn to command it better.

Pitching. As noted above, Holdzkom's wildness isn't just necessarily a product of bad command but more of a lack of concentration. He is more of a power arm at this point who has the ability to blow his plus fastball by hitters but lacks a plan on the mound. His slider and changeup both have plus potential, but neither is a reliable secondary pitch right now. If he can learn to command those pitches better and keep the same focus on every pitch, he can be simply dominating at times.

Projection. The harsh reality in Holdkom's case last season was he was neither physically nor mentally prepared for the rigors of professional baseball. He'll need to vastly improve in both areas to tap his true potential. If he can do that, as well as further develop the command of his secondary pitches, the Mets could have a special closer-type of pitcher. His arsenal is a bit too limited right now to project as a starter.

ETA. 2011. If he takes his professional career a bit more seriously, Holdzkom could wind up in the big leagues quicker, his stuff could be that special. Despite his numbers in 2006, he has a good shot of breaking Spring Training with the Savannah Sand Gnats next season. It will all depend on what kind of shape he shows up in and how well he implements changes to his game.

Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: John Holdzkom
\r\nPosition: Relief Pitcher
\r\nDOB: October 19, 1987
\r\nHeight: 6'8\"
\r\nWeight: 275
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"The talent level is what I expected,\" Holdzkom said of his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League. \"I think I was my own worst enemy. In the beginning of the season I wasn't concentrating as much as I should have. Sometimes I was too analytical on the mound.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe went 2-5 with three saves and a 7.71 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Mets and walked 20 batters in just 20 1/3 innings.
\r\n
\r\nWhile the walk totals were very discouraging, especially as the team's closer, the fact is his walks came in bunches. 80 percent of his walks were issued in just six of his appearances and mental lapses were the main culprit.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was like a story of two seasons,\" said the California native. \"My first half was awful and my second half was okay. That's when I started to pick up you need to be focused all the time and learn hitter's tendencies.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter beginning the season with an incredible 11.70 ERA in his first ten appearances, Holdzkom turned a corner and finished the year with a 1.04 ERA in his final six games.
\r\n
\r\n\"The biggest thing I learned is you have to stay focused 100 percent of the time when you're pitching,\" said Holdzkom. \"You can't let your mind run on different things. You've got to focus on each batter and each pitch. That's the biggest thing I learned. You have to throw strikes and not get behind in the count and be 2-0 on every batter you face.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I just think it came from, when a batter stepped to the plate, I wouldn't be concentrating on the first couple of pitches,\" he continued. \"I would just throw and not have a location in mind. I would be like 'uh-oh, it's 2-0, now it's time to bear down'.\"
\r\n
\r\nArmed with a fastball that was clocked as high as 98 MPH and sat comfortably sat around 94 MPH, he simply didn't display that kind of velocity in his professional debut and that hurt him as well. He mostly sat in the low-90's and topped out at 94 MPH with the GCL Mets.
\r\n
\r\n\"I hope it comes back in Spring Training,\" he said of his velocity, scrambling to come up with reason for the lost velocity. \"A lot of pitching over the course of the year [combined with college] and I was out of shape in the GCL.\"
\r\n
\r\nPerhaps the biggest disappointment in Holdkom's proffesional debut, even more so than the lost veloctiy, was the shape he reported in when he signed with the Mets.
\r\n
\r\nListed a generous 225 pounds upon signing, he was clearly overweight in the Gulf Coast League and looked every bit of 275 pounds.
\r\n
\r\n\"It all started in junior college,\" he said of showing up out of shape. \"I wasn't getting along with my coach and I wasn't sure I was going to get drafted as high as I did. I just figured [at that point] I might not play pro baseball this year and would have to wait until next year. I guess I didn't stay as motivated as I should have.\"
\r\n
\r\nHoldzkom was used primarily as a reliever last season, pitching two innings or less in all but one of his appearances. He compliments his plus fastball with a good slider and an inconsistent changeup.
\r\n
\r\n\"I have a chaneup that's more of a hit or miss pitch,\" he revealed. \"Sometimes it can be pretty good and other times it's not there. Having a consistent offspeed pitch is my biggest need for improvement. I don't even throw a curveball at all.\"
\r\n
\r\nConsidering his size and limited repertoire, most scouts project him as a big league reliever some day, a role that suits Holdzkom just fine.
\r\n
\r\n\"I kind of got to liking the closer role,\" he admitted. \"It's fun going in there in the last inning needing to shut the door. I like that aspect. I'll still giving starting another try because that's also fun, being able to face hitters more than once a game, but I'd like to be a closer.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith a self-confessed disastrous professional debut in his rear view mirror, he is simply looking forward to turning things around as quickly as possible and get back on track.
\r\n
\r\n\"My goal is to make the low-A roster,\" Holdzkom said of his goals for 2007. \"I don't know how realistic it is with the numbers I had last season. I just want to go into Spring Training and throw more strikes and hopefully get my velocity back.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n GCL

\r\n

\r\n 2-5

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 23.1

\r\n

\r\n 28

\r\n

\r\n 20

\r\n

\r\n 23

\r\n

\r\n 7.71


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Holdzkom normally is an elite power pitcher with a fastball that can reach the 98 MPH plateau pretty consistently, even sitting comfortably between 94-95 MPH. As noted above though, his velocity took a hit in his professional debut. He throws primarily four-seam fastballs up in the zone and he'll need to throw more sinking two-seamers to help keep balls down.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. Holdzkom throws a slider that served as his strikeout pitch in the Gulf Coast League last season, but he has very inconsistent command of it at times. He has a hard time throwing it for called strikes and often times winds up throwing it in the dirt for swinging strikes or wild pitches (he had 16 wild pitches last year), a facet of his game that will need to be cleaned up as he moves up the minor league ladder. He compliments his repertoire with a developing changeup that is also quite inconsistent. It has the potential to be good if he can learn to command it better.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. As noted above, Holdzkom's wildness isn't just necessarily a product of bad command but more of a lack of concentration. He is more of a power arm at this point who has the ability to blow his plus fastball by hitters but lacks a plan on the mound. His slider and changeup both have plus potential, but neither is a reliable secondary pitch right now. If he can learn to command those pitches better and keep the same focus on every pitch, he can be simply dominating at times.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. The harsh reality in Holdkom's case last season was he was neither physically nor mentally prepared for the rigors of professional baseball. He'll need to vastly improve in both areas to tap his true potential. If he can do that, as well as further develop the command of his secondary pitches, the Mets could have a special closer-type of pitcher. His arsenal is a bit too limited right now to project as a starter.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2011. If he takes his professional career a bit more seriously, Holdzkom could wind up in the big leagues quicker, his stuff could be that special. Despite his numbers in 2006, he has a good shot of breaking Spring Training with the Savannah Sand Gnats next season. It will all depend on what kind of shape he shows up in and how well he implements changes to his game.
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