2010: Advanced A-Lakeland Flying Tigers
159 AB .220/.335/.327 3HR 12RBI
Bryan Holaday was drafted in the sixth round of he 2010 Draft out of Texas Christian University. The 6-foot, 23-year-old catcher is perhaps the much needed solution to the Tigers lack of prospect depth behind the dish.
The casual fan might take a glance at his mediocre numbers in limited action with the Advanced-A Lakeland last season and simply dismiss him altogether. However, beyond that small sample size of data lies a prospect with serious potential.
NOTES AND NUMBERS:
Last season Holaday played 68 games for the TCU Horned Frogs. He batted .355 with 17 home runs and 53 RBIs. He also had 24 doubles and 99 hits in 279 at-bats. Behind the dish Holaday threw out 23 of 50 base stealers and was regarded as a solid defensive catcher. How solid you might ask? Holaday was issued the Johnny Bench Award, which is given to the top college catcher last season.
Holaday has also been labeled a hit by pitch expert by Baseball America. Believe it or not, Holaday gets plunked once every 25 at bats. This trend continued last season in Lakeland where he was hit 7 times in 159 at bats. While it may seem like a random stat, coupled with his solid walk ratio, he gets on base at a solid clip. After hovering at around .350 most of his college career, he posted an on-base-percentage of .434 last season at TCU.
After signing with the Detroit Tigers organization, Holaday was quickly assigned to Advanced-A Lakeland for the remainder of the season. While his numbers there might not turn heads, Holaday was solid. In his first 16 games he hit .365 and posted a .494 on-base-percentage. After July Holaday cooled off and finished the season with a .220/.335/.327 line. My personal opinion is that he may have simply been exhausted from the long college season and world series run in Omaha.
While Holaday has failed to generate much chatter from most top prospect lists, he did receive a few mentions. Baseball America even tabbed him as the best defensive catcher in our farm system.
I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt due to his solid track record and weighing his July numbers over his atrocious final six weeks last season. Aluminum bat aside and all, Holaday has a solid amount of pop. Last season Holaday went yard almost once every 16 at bats. I have no doubt that he will be able to post respectable power numbers in his professional career. I would not be to surprised to see him continue to get on base at a decent clip either. He is quite patient in the batters box and definitely has a good understanding of balls and strikes.
I anticipate that Holaday will be assigned to Advanced-A Lakeland to begin the season. To be completely honest, that is simply a selfish wish for the most part. I would enjoy the opportunity to keep tabs on his development. I also like the idea of Holaday having the opportunity to work with Jacob Turner and Casey Crosby. Dave Dombrowski has a habit of keeping his young top prospects in Lakeland until the weather warms up a bit to prevent injuries. Having the three of them together for a few weeks would be great for the team and each other.
I have heard projections in regards to his ceiling that range from every day starter to solid backup. As I have said before I have a difficult time labeling/projecting anyone until they have data beyond Advanced-A ball. However, I was very impressed with what I saw last season from him. I feel that he is not getting enough ink and he should be hyped a bit more. His first full professional season will definitely paint us a clearer picture.
Keep an eye on Bryan Holaday as he continues to earn his stripes down on the farm.