Interview with Brock Holt

After recovering from his 2010 knee injury, where will Brock Holt start the 2011 season?

The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Brock Holt in the ninth round of the 2009 draft, selecting the middle infielder out of Rice University.  Holt played second base at Rice, due to Rick Hague playing shortstop, although he has spent most of his time with the Pirates working at short, especially during the 2009 season.

After signing in 2009, Holt went on to put up a .299/.361/.449 line in 285 plate-appearances in the New York-Penn League.  He made a somewhat aggressive jump to high-A for his first full season, and started off strong with a .347/.407/.435 line in 218 plate appearances.  However, he went down with a knee injury in June, forcing him to get season ending surgery.

John Dreker of Pirates Prospects talked with Brock about his college career, his injury in 2010, and a look ahead to his 2011 season.  Here is what Brock had to say:

John Dreker: Hey Brock, thanks for doing this. Could you start off by talking about telling everyone about yourself before entering the Pirates system and what it was like to sign that first pro contract?

Brock Holt: Hey John, before signing with the Pirates, I played 2 years of junior college ball at Navarro College in Corsicana, TX, before playing my junior season at Rice University. I’ve been real lucky to play on some real good teams and with some real talented players. Signing my first pro contract was a dream come true, I know it sounds cliche but it’s what guys like me dream of from the time we can walk. I kind of expected to get drafted a little higher than I did, and at first was thinking about returning for my senior year at Rice. After weighing my options I decided to go ahead and sign. I have had to prove myself at every level I’ve been at, and I was confident that I could do it again.

John: Growing up did you model your game after any certain major leaguers?

Brock: As a kid, I loved Ken Griffey Jr. just like every other baseball player my age. But I’d say I model my game after Michael Young. I grew up a huge Rangers fan and I’ve always just liked the way he plays: quietly consistent year in and year out.

John: Everyone who follows the minors closely wants to know about the knee injury you suffered this year and how you’re recovering from it?

Brock: I had a compound meniscal tear. No damage to any of the ligaments. Normal meniscal tears only take 4-6 weeks before you are back on the field. I was on crutches for 6 weeks after surgery. I tore mine all the way through which involved them going in and sewing it back together and anchoring it down to where it was supposed to be. Rehab has been long, but it’s feeling really good. I’ve had no problems with it and will be more than ready for spring training.

John: The way you were hitting last year before the injury it looked like you were going to move up to Altoona before the season was over. Has there been any discussion on where you may open the season?

Brock: Yeah I was pleased with the way I started off last year, that’s why the injury was such a bummer. I’m hoping it’s like riding a bike and I can just pick up where I left off. But I haven’t heard anything about where I may start. Obviously I hope I’m in Altoona but I guess it all depends on how I look during spring training and what Kyle (Stark) and the rest of the staff think is best for my development.

John: Do you prefer to play SS or 2B and have you been told which you will play this upcoming season?

Brock: Really, I don’t have a preference. I love playing both, I have been back and forth between the two my whole life. There’s things I like more about 2nd like turning the double play and the throw haha and there’s things I like more about short like the dp feeds and making the play up the middle.  Right now, I would think I’d be at short because that is really all I’ve played since being with the Pirates but I’m comfortable at both.

John: Are there any parts of your game you specifically want to improve this upcoming season and have you set any goals for yourself?

Brock: I would love to improve on my stolen bases. As a leadoff type guy I feel that I could definitely steal more bases to get in scoring position for the guys behind me. I want to improve defensively as well. I have always been real consistent when it comes to my defense and I was disappointed with the way I played while I was healthy last year. Those are a couple things, but if I could improve in every aspect of my game I wouldn’t be mad. As for goals, I’ll start setting some for myself once spring training gets here.

John: Any final comments for the Pirates fans and fans of this site?

Brock: There is a lot of talent in this system and it’s only a matter of time. It’s going to be a lot of fun when we start winning again.  See you in Pittsburgh.

John: Thanks for taking the time to do this! It’s really appreciated.

Brock: Thanks John.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Tim or John….in talking to these prospects do they ever mention if they ever read Pirate blogs or maybe check out the internet for something like the draft to see who the Pirates drafted or just generally read to see what is happening with the different teams in the system?

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