Detroit Tigers Player Preview: Bryan Holaday
Bryan Holaday is having a break-out spring training with the Detroit Tigers.
In 2010, the Detroit Tigers drafted Holaday in the sixth round of the amateur draft. Prior to joining the Tigers, he was a member of the Horned Frogs at Texas Christian University. He has played for the Lakeland Flying Tigers, Erie Seawolves, and Toledo Mud Hens in the Tigers organization. He also played in the Dominican Winter League with the Tigres del Licey. He made his Major League debut in 2012.
Holaday played for two years at TCU, in his sophomore and junior years. Prior to playing at TCU, he spent one year playing North Central Texas College. In his sophomore year, he was named the first-team all-conference catcher. In his junior year, he was named to the second-team all-conference as catcher. He started in 113 games at TCU. He batted .311 as a sophomore and .300 as a junior.
In 2014, Holaday spent the entire season with Detroit as the backup catcher to Alex Avila. He was the right-handed hitter that complimented Avila’s left-handed bat. That season, Holaday played in 62 games and batted a slash-line of .231/.266/.276. He hit 15 RBIs and 5 doubles. That season was not particularly memorable. But, neither was Avila’s, who hit .218/.327/.359 that same year.
The following year, Dallas-native Holaday spent the majority of the season with Triple-A Toledo. There he started in 49 games and hit a slash of .224/.282/.311. He was injured for some of the 2015 season with a dislocated thumb.
It was unusual for a player to move back to the minors after a full season in the majors. But, Holaday’s performance during the 2015 spring training games just wasn’t good enough. During the 2015 games, he hit .200. Brad Ausmus had to cut him after watching James McCann bat .371 while in Lakeland last spring. McCann also hit .250 when he played in Detroit in 2014 and .295 when he played in Toledo.
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Holaday’s disappointment that resulted from his 2015 spring training seems to be motivating him to play tough in 2016. No one on the team has a better batting average in the 2016 spring training games than Holaday. He has played in seven games, hit three home runs, and has a slash of .643/.667/1.500. These might be just spring training games, but it is clear that Holaday is out to prove his worth. Other players are beginning to average out, even Miguel Cabrera is down to a .313 batting average; but, Holaday is still swinging like his life is depending on it – and it is.
If the Tigers do not choose to bring him back to Detroit, the 28-year-old Holaday is finished with the team. Before he can be sent to Toledo for more time with the Mud Hens, he would have to be placed on waivers. Because he is a good catcher, there is a good chance that he will be snapped up by another team. Quality catchers, especially those who can be backups, are always in demand.
Next: Tigers Spring Training Review Week Two
The question remains if Holaday will be kept on as a catcher or if he will be kept as a utility player. He did play third base this spring training and he even pitched in an inning in Toledo in 2015.
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