Back in the draft of 2015, the New York Yankees selected a shortstop prospect from San Diego University who had gold glover written all over him. That shortstop would be the smooth fielding Kyle Holder. Holder is one of the older prospects in the Yankees system that I’ve profiled in this prospect series. At 25 years old, it’s starting to become make or break time for the former first-round draft pick. Holder is a very strong defender and had a very good .973 fielding percentage in 2019. He has a very strong arm from the shortstop position and he possesses very good reflexes. He’s got a great first step which allows him to make all of the plays he needs to from that position. The biggest question around Holder has been his bat, and that is honestly the reason he has not made it above AA in his five years within the New York Yankees system. However, 2019 gave the Yankees front office a reason to believe that Holder could develop into a complete prospect.
Showing Something New
Last year playing for AA Trenton, Holder might have had his best year at the plate. In 112 games, Holder hit .265 with 9 home runs and 40 RBIs. Holder had a pretty good OBP of .336 and even stole 7 bases during the season. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, they become more impressive when you consider the fact that Holder hit .175 in the month of April. Holder struggled mightily and seemed to be late on a lot of pitches. However, in May he turned things around and would hit .281 the rest of the season. Holder hits from the left side which is a big plus in the Yankees system. His fielding ability speaks for itself, but if he can keep his hitting numbers consistent, he would definitely become an MLB caliber shortstop. Holder is not going to be a guy who is going to hit for a ton of power, but when he’s on, Holder can hit the ball to all fields and has a pretty balanced swing.
Make or Break
For Kyle Holder, there is still more to prove to the front office. When the season gets underway, he needs to show the Yankees that he’s the hitter that they saw from May last year. Scout’s biggest knock on Holder has always been his bat, but he hit the mute button on those scouts last year. Now, he needs to show that it wasn’t a fluke. His glove could play SS for the Yankees right now, but his bat is a big question. If Holder can show that he can be a consistent hitter in the 270-280 range, he becomes a much more attractive prospect. If the Yankees don’t sign DJ LeMahieu to an extension after the season, Holder could be an option at shortstop in 2021 if the Yankees move Gleyber Torres back to second. Of course, that would depend on how Holder handles the bat this year.