Brock Holt hit for his first cycle at any level in the Red Sox' 9-4 win over the Braves in June. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Brock Holt, and not Xander Bogaerts, earns lone Red Sox All-Star berth

John Tomase
July 06, 2015 - 3:43 pm

The Red Sox have their All-Star representative and as expected, it's shortstop Xander €... wait a minute, it's Brock Holt?!? In what goes down as a surprise even to Holt himself, Royals manager Ned Yost chose the utilityman as Boston's lone All-Star representative among the reserves announced on Monday night. "What impressed me is his versatility," Yost said on the selection show. "Super-utility guys should be celebrated." Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, widely expected to be the team's lone All-Star, will instead appear on the five-man final-player ballot, where he'll square off against Detroit's Yoenis Cespedes, Minnesota's Brian Dozier, New York's Brett Gardner and Kansas City's Mike Moustakas. While the choice is a surprise, Holt isn't undeserving. The 27-year-old is hitting .295 with an .807 OPS while appearing at every position except pitcher and catcher. "It's pretty surreal," Holt said in a conference call. "I'm just honored to be able to represent the Red Sox and the organization at the All-Star Game. I'm humbled and it's something I didn't expect coming into the year, but I'm glad it happened, and I'm excited about the opportunity." Holt open the season on the bench in a reserve role, but basically became a full-time starter in early May, albeit one without a set position. He has started 30 of 32 games since June 3, hitting .303 with a home run and 10 RBIs. Included in that stretch was the game of his life against the Braves on June 16, when he hit for the cycle in a 9-4 victory. He said he never expected to play the role he has filled in Boston, figuring he'd spend his time at second and short if he ever made the big leagues at all. "I had never played outfield at all at any level until last year," he said. "I had never played first base ever. Obviously, I didn't expect growing up like, hey, I'm going to play outfield and first base in the major leagues. It's just something that happened, and everything kind of happens for a reason. I've found a home here in Boston. It has helped me as a player to find a place and kind of stick. It's been a huge thrill for me to be able to do that." On the season, Holt has two homers, 21 RBIs, and 30 runs. He also ranks seventh in the American League in on base percentage (.383) and 10th in WAR among position players (3.1). Holt got the news after Sunday's 5-4 victory over the Astros from manager John Farrell, who called him into his office. He said the first congratulatory text message he received came from second baseman Dustin Pedroia, and he celebrated on Monday with teammates and family at Clay Buchholz's charity bowling tournament. "I didn't expect this going into the season," Holt said. "We've got a lot of talented guys on the team, on the roster, a lot of guys that are probably deserving. I told the media earlier today when I just got interviewed, the first text message I got was from Dustin Pedroia. He's been to his fair share of All-Star Games. It was pretty special to hear from my teammates. Buchholz came up and gave me a hug and said congrats, so that's pretty special, getting those hugs, handshakes, and text messages from teammates, who have been there and done it. They're just as happy for me probably as I am." Holt becomes the second player featured in the Joel Hanrahan trade with the Pirates to become an All-Star. The 2012 deal sent closer Mark Melancon, a 2013 All-Star, to Pittsburgh. "When I got traded over, they told me they had liked me a lot and I'€™d have a chance to make the team that year," Holt said. "Obviously things didn't work out. I went to Pawtucket and didn't play very well, so I got kind of down on myself. Last year, I got called up for the second time or so and I was playing well and they started asking me to move around and I thought . . . if I was capable of playing that amount of spots, I might be able to stick. I guess last year kind of was a stepping stone for me in that direction."