Holaday joined the Tigers as their sixth round pick last June out of TCU. He signed quickly for $115,000 after playing in the College World Series with his club. Though the CWS might have been the highlight of his season, Holaday also took home numerous individual awards, including Mountain West Conference Tournament MVP and the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top catcher.
After signing, Holaday reported directly to High-A Lakeland and took over the day-to-day catching duties for the Flying Tigers. He came out blazing, including five hits in a July 9th game against Clearwater, but quickly lost that momentum. He finished his 44-game pro debut with a .220/.335/.327 line.
If you are going to talk about Holaday, the conversation must start with his glove. He has above-average catch-and-throw skills, and with some refinement after adjusting to the speed of the pro game, he could have a plus glove for a long time.
He receives the ball well and calls a good game. The Tigers instructors spent much of the Fall Instructional League working with him on blocking balls in the dirt, most notably his decision making about when to go to two knees, one knee, or just try and pick it. Holaday has a plus arm and a lightning quick release, and can consistently sit in the 1.9 range with his pop times.
For all his defensive pluses, Holaday may have an equal number of minuses with the bat. Though he is not weak, he doesn't regularly drive the ball, and he often makes poor contact with the ball. His swing mechanics are a little funky, and many scouts believe his collegiate offense was a product of the aluminum bat. He doesn't project to hit for average or power as a pro. His one offensive positive is his ability to manage the strike zone. He has shown an ability to work counts, but that won't be enough against more advanced pitchers.
Holaday is an exceptional leader both vocally and by example. Along with those leadership traits, Holaday has good makeup and a tireless work ethic.
Without some drastic changes in his offensive profile, his ceiling maxes out as an MLB backup, but one with strong leadership and defense; two traits that could keep him in the big leagues for a while.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
Holaday has not had any major injuries in the last few years. He has logged a lot of innings behind the plate, so the wear and tear of the position will have to be watched closely, but he is not at any greater risk of injury than any other catching prospect.
Holaday doesn't have much to do to reach his pro ceiling. He could be ready as a big league backup sometime during the 2012 season. In 2011, once he is re-assigned from Major League camp, he will compete with John Murrian to determine who will be the primary backstop at Double-A and who will return to High-A Lakeland.
It is reasonable to expect Holaday to see Erie at some point this summer, and once he adjusts to the pace of the pro game, he could be called up at any time if the situations called for such a move.
TigsTown has gone social! You can now follow TigsTown.com and the TigsTown staff on Twitter and Facebook! For all the latest stories and forum updates, follow @ScoutTigers. For the latest from Managing Editor Mark Anderson, follow @TigsTownMark, and you can follow Executive Editor Paul Wezner @TigsTown. You can also find TigsTown on Facebook, just seach for TigsTown.com!