2013 9th Round Pick: Brian Holberton, C, UNC

Though he struggled to get full time burn behind the plate for a highly talented Tar Heels club, his bat shined last year and he brings some modest upside to the system for a college hitter.

Summary

Though Matt Roberts got a fair amount of the starts at catcher for the Tar Heels this season, Brian Holberton was a far superior hitter and is a much more intriguing prospect as a pro. A North Carolina native, Holberton's best tool is likely his above-average raw power, which resulted in 10 home runs in his 267 plate appearances this season. He also has very impressive plate discipline, as evidenced by his stellar 40/27 BB/K ratio this year. He has some deceptive athleticism behind the dish despite his thick build, and even stole eight bases as a junior.

Holberton's swing is of moderate length with ample bat speed for pro ball, and though he won't continue to strike out in 10% of his plate appearances, he can likely hit for average to a degree as a pro, and his high walk rate will help bolster that part of his game. His power is legitimate and he can be a 15-20 homer per season guy if he hits enough. He's a polished hitter and has a chance to advance quickly through the Astros system- likely starting with Tri-City.

On defense, he has a relaxed demeanor behind the dish and shows a knack for freezing the glove and framing pitches. He has a quick release and some arm speed and has solid defensive tools overall. He'll need to be a long term catcher to be a legitimate big leaguer, but he has a chance to stick there if his rough edges are smoothed out. Holberton doesn't have one trait that really jumps out, but his bat has some promise, and as the old adage goes, you can never have too many catchers. At this stage in the draft, he's a solid pickup and provides some good depth to the system at the catcher position, where it is definitely needed.

MLB Floor

Holberton could easily end up as an organizational depth guy, but if he doesn't reach his full potential he could do just fine as a left-handed bench bat with some pop.

MLB Ceiling

With his modest offensive upside, Holberton could be a very strong #2 catcher at the big league level if his power and plate discipline continue to show.

Video

UNC's Brian Holberton Smashes Game-Tying 3-Run Home Run - ACC Must See Moment (via ACCDigitalNetwork)


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