High School Sports

Former Coast pitching standout promoted to New York Yankees

Former Gulfport and Mississippi State right-hander Jonathan Holder has been promoted to the New York Yankees.
Former Gulfport and Mississippi State right-hander Jonathan Holder has been promoted to the New York Yankees. AP File

The Bronx is starting to have a distinct Coast flavor.

For the second time in as many seasons, a former Coast and Mississippi State pitching standout has been promoted to the New York Yankees.

On Friday, the Yankees called up former Gulfport ace Jonathan Holder after a short — albeit dazzling — stint with the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Holder climbed three levels in 2016, boasting a 5-1 record with a 1.65 ERA between High-A, Double-A and finally Triple-A. In 65 1/3 innings this year, Holder struck out 101 against seven walks while limiting opponents to a .160 batting average. He also owns a 0.66 WHIP, which factors in walks and hits against innings pitched.

After being promoted to Triple-A on July 21, Holder posted a 2-0 record and 0.89 ERA, striking out 35 without walking a batter in 20 1/3 innings. He also converted all six of his save opportunities.

Plenty of accomplishments

It’s been a whirlwind season for the former Admiral, who was a sixth-round selection by the Yankees out of MSU in 2014. In addition to earning a spot in the Eastern League All-Star Game, he also pitched a perfect ninth inning to complete a no-hitter while with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

Last Sunday, Holder completed another miraculous feat when he struck out 11 batters in a row —and 12 of 13 batters faced — over four innings for the RailRiders as they clinched a playoff berth.

“Ever since college, my approach has been that you can’t get outs by throwing balls,” Holder told MiLB.com at the time. “I’ve always been a guy that likes to pound the zone and trust the defense behind me. Getting swings and misses is a plus, but letting hitters get themselves out is my game plan.”

After trading off elite relievers Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman prior to the trade deadline, the Yankees are likely looking for pitchers to step up and lock down the late innings.

With Holder’s recent success, coupled with MLB rosters expanding, the former Coast standout was a no brainer to earn a promotion.

Gulfport High’s Twitter account was actually first to break the news late Thursday night. The report was confirmed Friday morning by several Yankees reporters.

New York Post baseball columnist Joel Sherman originally reported Holder would not be among the Yankees’ September call-ups, but confirmed the news of the promotion Friday morning with Yankees general manager Brian Cashman.

“I wrestled back and forth but ultimately decided he earned the right to be here,” Cashman told Sherman.

Another Coast arm

Former MSU teammate and St. Stanislaus ace Jacob Lindgren was the first member of the Yankees’ 2014 draft class to reach the majors, earning a brief callup in May 2015. The southpaw was limited early in 2016, however, and underwent Tommy John surgery in early August. Because the recovery can take upwards of 18 months, Lindgren will likely be sidelined for all of the 2017 season as well.

In just seven innings at High-A in 2016, Lindgren had a 2.57 ERA with nine walks and eight strikeouts.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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