Yankees: Matt Holliday Quietly Having a Brilliant Spring
While the “Baby Bombers” have stolen the show at spring training, offseason addition Matt Holliday has impressed both on and off the field.
In an offseason where not much was done, the New York Yankees’ addition of slugger Matt Holliday seemed a bit odd. After all, the seven-time All-Star was coming off a down year where he hit just .246 for the St.Louis Cardinals. He was on the brink of becoming a 37-year-old, and it was a legitimate concern to think that his career could be on the downward spiral.
What we’ve seen from Holliday through his 22 at-bat’s through spring training is the apparent opposite; this slugger still has a lot left. While you can try and convince yourself that spring training stats don’t matter, there’s no denying Holliday’s impact on a young Yankees team.
According to NJ.com’s Randy Miller, Holliday knows what is the main role is on the team and how he can help lead the next wave of Yankee greats:
"“You build relationships with people, and out of that they’re more comfortable in coming to you and you’re more comfortable in offering something,” Holliday told NJ Advance Media. “I’m excited to get to know these guys, really get to know them.” Build relationships with them, hang out with them … and then I want to be available for what any young guys need.”"
This is what the Yankees desperately needed. There are no more Derek Jeter‘s, no more Alex Rodriguez‘s, no more Mark Teixeira‘s in the clubhouse. In short, there wasn’t a solid locker room presence in the Yankees’ locker room, that is until Holliday came around. While you can say Brett Gardner was the elder statesman on the roster, there was no true veteran who had been through nearly every rigor of the Major Leagues.
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While Holliday’s leadership is certainly important on an up-and-coming Yankees’ team, his stats are also vital to his role, too.
As a player who is known for his hitting, Holliday came into camp hoping to live up to his career averages which include a .303 lifetime average, 23 home runs and 89 RBI’s per season.
Through 22 at-bat’s, the righty-hitting Holliday has collected two home runs, three doubles, and six RBI’s. That’s some nice production for a guy who didn’t get much attention on the free agent market this past winter.
The best part of Holliday’s production is that the Yankees now have a consistent threat at the designated hitter position. There is no longer a rotating door of Alex Rodriguez, Carlos Beltran, Billy Butler, and Tyler Austin. Holliday will also be able to stay fresh due to the fact that he won’t see much time in the field anymore.
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While this spring training performance could be a fluke, there’s no denying that the early results are encouraging. Even if Holliday doesn’t quite live up to the standards he was once accustomed to early on in his career, he’ll play a vital role in helping this Yankees’ team grow both on and off the diamond.