The Cincinnati Reds have acquired minor league shortstop Kyle Holder from the Philadelphia Phillies according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. Holder was a Rule 5 pick this past December, coming over to Philadelphia from the New York Yankees. The rules still apply for Cincinnati – Holder has to make the active roster out of spring training or be offered back to the Yankees.
The Yankees 1st round pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of San Diego, Holder struggled to hit early on in his professional career. He posted a .527 OPS in rookie ball with Staten Island over 56 games in 2015. The next two years his OPS was just .669 and .666 in Low-A and Advanced-A. In 2018 he missed much of the year, playing in just 48 games while posting a .667 OPS in A-ball and Double-A. In 2019, as a 25-year-old, he finally started to show something with the bat as he hit .265/.336/.405 for Double-A Trenton. That was easily the best offensive season he’s had as a professional.
Kyle Holder will turn 27-years-old in May and he’s never played above Double-A. He’s not known to hit much, and he’s not expected to hit much, either. Where he does stand out, though, is with his glove. He’s a plus defender with a plus arm at the second most valuable defensive position on the fielder. During the 2020 year he was with the Yankees at their alternate site, but never had a chance to reach the Major Leagues.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network says that this move doesn’t mean that Cincinnati isn’t still trying to acquire a starting shortstop, noting that the Reds are still hoping to land Amed Rosario from Cleveland in a trade. Rosario is one of two shortstops that was acquired by Cleveland when they traded Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets, leaving them with options to work with on the trade market.
ZiPS has a projection for Kyle Holder in the 2021 season for a .232/.283/.340 line and -0.4 WAR. Plus defense, but a bat that is well below-average. The -0.4 WAR, though, does come with an accumulated 458 plate appearances, which is tough to see if he’s putting up that kind of offensive line.