Who is the young man pictured at left?
Well, he might just be the best pitcher in the Mets organization not named Johan Santana...at least one of the best.
I suppose there's two ways of looking at that: 1) The Mets don't exactly have a staff of great pitchers, so is it really such high praise?, and 2) It is high praise for someone who hasn't pitched above AA-ball.
But I have a feeling he's going to make some noise during Spring Training...and when you hear about Bradley Holt, I want to make sure you remember that you read about him here first.
I guess I should begin by saying there's only one reason I am aware that the Mets drafted Bradley Holt (he may now be called Brad Holt...I'll go Bradley until I hear differently) in 2008. The Southern Bureau of '200 Miles From The Citi' is based in Wilmington, North Carolina, and followed Holt closely during his years at UNC-Wilmington.
Holt had a pretty dominant final season at UNCW, and following the draft debuted with the Brooklyn Cyclones. He went 5-3 in 14 starts, had a 1.87 ERA, opponents hit just .171 against him, and most impressively, struck out 96 batters in 72 innings.
He split 2009 between St. Lucie of the Florida State League and Double-A Binghamton. He pitched well again in St. Lucie, 4-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 9 starts, with a .215 batting average against, and 54 K's in 43 innings.
He was figured out a bit in Binghamton, pitching 58 innings, striking out just 45. Hitters hit .270 against him, and he went 3-6 with a 6.21 ERA in 11 starts.
That's not exactly a leap-to-the-Majors after Double-A line, but the Mets are a team that is desperate for pitching. And to be honest, I don't think Holt will be a starter in the Majors. He throws hard, and I think he'd be a perfect bullpen guy...possibly even a closer down the line.
I doubt Holt will break camp with the Mets. He's not even on the Major League roster. (How could he be? There's no room with five catchers!)
But I bet he impresses in this Spring Training, and I bet he's in Triple-A early in the season.
And I wouldn't be surprised to see Holt coming out of the bullpen at Citi Field some time this season...especially if the Mets are bringing up some youngsters late in the season to see what they have on the farm.
My guess is they won't be disappointed...and he might be sticking around Citi Field for quite a few more years.