One of the more interesting September promotions for 2016 is right-hander Jonathan Holder of the New York Yankees. Holder put up some insane statistics this year, earning a promotion for the stretch run despite the fact that he did not have to be protected on the 40-man roster to avoid the December Rule 5 draft. Let's take a look at what intrigued the Yankees so much.
Holder pitched college baseball at Mississippi State University. A bullpen force for three seasons (37 saves, 1.59 ERA, 191/31 K/BB in 136 innings), he was drafted in the sixth round in 2014. The Yankees used him primarily as a starter in 2015 and he performed well, posting a 2.44 ERA in 103 innings in High-A with a 78/21 K/BB.
He moved back to the bullpen for 2016 and has been stellar, posting a combined 1.65 ERA between High-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, with a 101/7 K/BB in 65 innings. That's right, 101 strikeouts, seven walks. Even more impressive: after moving up to Triple-A Scranton he posted a 35/0 K/BB in 20 innings, including fanning 12 men in four innings of relief work on August 28th.
Holder is a 6-2, 235 pound right-hander born June 9, 1993. He doesn't have a blistering fastball but has respectable velocity in the 90-94 range. He varies speeds with his breaking ball, throwing it anywhere between 75 and 88 MPH. His command was ridiculously good in the minors this year and indeed has been quite strong dating back to his college days.
As noted, Holder did not have to be protected from the Rule 5 draft this year, so the fact that the Yankees felt he was worthy of a 40-man roster spot this soon is a key tell for how highly they regard him.