In a lot of ways Brock Holt and Daniel Nava are similar— both weren’t expected to do anything more than fill up a roster spot, surprised the world playing like All-Stars on a regular basis and continue to thrive despite people labeling them as lucky. Despite the similarities though, they are very different players.
Nava’s “five minutes of fame” came last year, and most of us are cognizant of how that 2013 success resonated into 2014. For those who aren’t, his slash line reads a weak .223/.313/.308 clip this season. His poor play even resulted in a demotion to the minor-leagues earlier in the year. This was something that was unfathomable a year ago, but, hey, that’s the difference a year can make.
That said, the question remains; what makes Brock Holt, whose .396 BABIP is a lot more unsustainable than Nava’s .352 BABIP in 2013, different from his teammate?
Holt, unlike Nava, has the versatility and defensive aptitude to forge himself into a valuable commodity even if his offense fades. Having multiple tools in the Major Leagues is extremely helpful; even when you’re not thriving in one aspect of your game, you can still provide value in others.
That’s the difference between the two, and it’s quite substantial. Nava shouldn’t be in the lineup when he’s not hitting, and given how fluid hitters are, it puts him at an extreme disadvantage. Meanwhile, Holt even if his offense takes a dive, can be valuable whether it’s a regular or super-utility role because of his defense and speed.