2014 Player Previews: C Bryan Holaday

Holaday is the favorite to be backup catcher

After spending much of 2013 biding his time in Toledo, Brayan Pena has moved on, and the backup catcher role is open for the taking. With the most experience in the minors, and an established starter already on the club, the slot is Bryan Holaday's to lose. What can the Tigers expect from the young backstop?

Bryan Holaday 2013 In Review

2013 Stats
TEAM PA WAR wOBA BA BA bip xBA bip OBP SLG SO% SB/ CS DRS D-Val
Detroit 33 0.2 .360 .296 .304 .371 .367 .444 9.1% 0/0 -1 0.8


With Alex Avila and Brayan Pena entrenched behind the plate in Detroit, Holaday spent much of the 2013 season working as the most days catcher in Toledo, where he hit a solid .260, but was mostly unspectacular.

He posted good numbers in his brief time in Detroit, but given the few plate appearances and limited games, it is almost foolhardy to ascertain anything from his performance at that level.

2014 Player Projections

2014 Advanced Projections
Service PA WAR BA BAbip OBP SLG wOBA D-Val
ZiPS 346 1.1 .237 .287 .285 .339 .273 5
Steamer 192 0.3 .238 .276 .289 .346 .281 2.9
Oliver 600 0.7 .231 .278 .281 .342 .278 14


With Pena leaving via free agency, the backup catching duties are Holaday's to lose entering spring training. James McCann will get a spring training invite, and as a well-regarded prospect, will certainly be on Holaday's heels, but with no experience above Double-A, and little need to have a prospect ride the pine five to six days per week, Holaday is a safe bet to take on the slot.

The projections are largely in agreement that the limited 2013 production from Holaday was due to a small sample size, and would be unlikely to continue. All three show him posting a lower average (driven by a lower BAbip, lower than he's posted at any minor league stop), solid walk rate producing a good on-base average, and some pop. They all come together to tell the story of a player likely not worthy of 300+ plate appearances, but someone that when solid defensively (which Holaday is), makes for a very serviceable backup catcher.

2014 Projections come from three different sources; ZiPS, Steamer, and Oliver, all publicly available via FanGraphs.com and presented for information purposes only. ZiPS projections come from Dan Szymborski, Steamer from Steamer Projections, a trio of independent academic researchers, and Oliver Projections from Brian Cartwright.

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