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Astros History: Chris Holt's Rookie Season

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Back in 1997, it was easier to get excited about rookies. Did he pitch a lot? Was his ERA good? Well, then he's going to be a star!

That's how I felt about Chris Holt after his rookie season in 1997. He had a great ERA (3.52) and pitched over 200 innings. He didn't finish in the Rookie of the Year voting, though, since he went 8-12. Of course, who can argue with Scott Rolen winning it that year? If you look at the pitchers who garnered ROY votes that season, Holt could have hung with Brett Tomko and Geremi Gonzalez and possibly Rich Loiselle.

But, it was not to be.

Holt finished the season with 95 strikeouts (which is why we're talking about him before Game No. 95), 61 walks and 211 hits allowed in 209 innings.

There is so much to talk about here, where should we start? How about his strikeout rate being so low? That's a strikeout rate of 4 per nine innings. There have only been six seasons by Astros pitchers who had a strikeout rate that low and threw at least 200 innings. The names there (Ken Forsch, Joe Niekro, Mark Lemongello and Dave Roberts) are a mix of successful and short-career guys, but the most interesting thing is Holt is the only player on the list after 1980.

That means there has only been one pitcher in the past 32 years who did that. Only one pitcher has done it in the past three seasons (John Lannan) and only 11 have since 2000. Basically, it's really hard to succeed and pitch that many innings with that low a strikeout rate.

Holt did not pitch in the postseason in 1997, but he did put up one of the more interesting performance in team history in 1999. Then, he pitched in one game, to three batters in the National League Division Series against Atlanta, giving up three hits and three runs, which means he had an ERA of infinity.

Holt tore his rotator cuff and missed the entire 1998 season, never really building on the success of that first season. He ended up playing in five seasons total, getting flipped to Detroit in the Second Brad Ausmus Trade.