Robert Pimpsner

Here's a scouting report on Staten Island Yankees shortstop Kyle Holder.

The New York Yankees selected shortstop Kyle Holder in the first round of the 2015 MLB Draft out of the University of San Diego. An elite defensive player, the Yankees believe he will be able to hit enough to make optimal use of his world-class defensive game.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Kyle Holder
Position: Shortstop
DOB: May 25, 1994
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 185
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

Batting and Power. Not an impact hitter by any means, boasting power that currently grades out as a below average tool on the traditional scouting scale, Holder isn't exactly a non-entity at the plate either.  He has excellent strike zone discipline and shows above average patience too, and combined with his adequate bat speed the trio gives him the foundation in place to be a solid hitter for average in due time even though his .213 average in his professional debut season with the Staten Island Yankees might not be proof positive of it.  While he doesn't have real run-producing potential, he does have the ceiling of becoming a very capable consistent hitter and he has the type of body frame that could get stronger too. 

Base Running and Speed. Holder isn't exactly a speed demon either.  Speed-wise he grades out more on the average side than anything, perhaps just a click below that, but he makes up for his lack of plus speed with excellent base running instincts and agility so while he projects to be nothing more than an average stolen base threat -- capping out perhaps in the 10-20 range -- he can have a real impact running the bases station to station.  While not spectacular, he's solid in the running game overall.

Defense. While his natural running speed isn't top-shelf, ironically his range is and it's because he gets excellent reads off of the bat and positions himself ideally pre-pitch.  He is extremely athletic too, showing nimble feet and agility, and with some of the best hands around it allows him to catch nearly anything hit in his general direction.  Boasting plus arm strength too, there really isn't a play he can't make.  He isn't just big league ready defensively, he could easily be one of the best defenders in the big leagues right now.

Projection. With the ability to save a ton of runs and rob many a would-be base hit, Holder is the kind of special defensive wizard that a team ideally would like to have playing as much as possible; he can be that kind of special defensive player.  And while the offensive tools don't exactly scream impact long-term, especially on the power side of things and to some degree the running game too, he does have the requisite skills in place to be a consistent small-ball hitter as he continues to develop, one who could advance runners and get on base at a solid clip given his solid swing, patience, and strike zone discipline.  He's already drawn a ton of comparisons as a left-handed hitting version of Brendan Ryan due to the limited power-speed combo and plus defensive abilities, and those kinds of players have legitimate big league value.  The fact that Holder is a left-handed hitter for the Yankees, however, and could use the short porch in right field to his advantage should he ascend that far does offer him the ceiling of a Zack Cozart [from the Cincinnati Reds] type production-wise if things break right.  He has the floor of a big league reserve player and the ceiling of a big league starting infielder, especially if he's able to add some strength in the coming years.

ETA. 2018. Holder's special defensive game could have him moving very quickly through the minor leagues but we're still going to take a conservative approach with his estimated big league arrival time until the bat begins to show more consistency numbers-wise.  He's a candidate to make the jump over the low-A level entirely in his first full season and begin 2016 in high-A Tampa if he has a strong Spring Training.

Year Team AVG AB 2B HR RBI R BB SO SB OBP SLG OPS
2015 Staten Island .213 225 7 0 12 23 17 34 6 .273 .253 .527

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