Holt allowed four hits and struck out five over seven shutout innings Friday for the Double-A Binghamton Mets in a 2-1 loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.
A 2008 first-round pick by the Mets, Holt faced five batters over the minimum and allowed only five balls to leave the infield, recording 10 groundouts.
"I used all my pitches tonight," Holt said. "At the beginning I was using a lot of changeups and it kinda seemed they were getting used to that, so we started using cutters later in the game. We were trying to stay ahead of guys and stay focused and tried to get some quick outs."
Holt is coming off his worst season as a pro, going 3-14 with an 8.34 ERA in 24 games between Class A Advanced St. Lucie and Binghamton. Control was an issue for the North Carolina-Wilmington product, who issued 79 walks, hit 17 batters and uncorked 23 wild pitches in 95 innings.
"We could never pinpoint it. It was never mechanics," Holt said. "We compared videos and couldn't tell the difference. All you can chalk it up to be is mental. I knew I was better than that.
"I couldn't throw a strike at times. Some games I would go through two innings fine and then I would throw a ball to the backstop or [was] just throwing it all over the place."
Holt said an evolution in his mind-set on the mound has proven beneficial.
"Now I'm starting to learn how to pitch to hitters instead of trying to blow them away. It's more of a getting the quick out," he explained.
In his season debut on April 9, Holt allowed three hits over five shutout innings to beat Akron. He credits part of his success to the development of a new pitch, a cutter that he began working on last year.
"Last year is behind me, I'm gaining my confidence back," said Holt, who also throws a fastball, curveball and changeup. "I've added the cutter to all my pitches and I'm not trying to do anything special.
"I started playing with it while I was up with St. Lucie last year and it was a good pitch, but because of the ways things were going I didn't see the need to add something -- just try and focus on getting back on the right track. It's helped out with getting ground balls in tough situations and opened the door for my other pitches."
Holt ended 2010 on a positive note with a strong stint in the elite Arizona Fall League. Pitching for the Mesa Solar Sox, the 24-year-old North Carolina native went 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA, striking out 13 over 12 1/3 innings.
"It was a big confidence boost," Holt said. "When I came out [of a game], one of the [Mets] coordinators was in town and told me good job, and I said, 'I actually feel like pitching is fun again.' It kept me positive all offseason, knowing that last year was all mental."
Fisher Cats starter Chad Beck the win in his Double-A debut after limiting Binghamton to a run on two hits over eight innings.
"The guy threw the ball great all night," Holt said. "I got done pitching and came in, and the guy who was doing the chart was saying [Beck] had thrown 58 pitches. He threw a heckuva game."
Adam Calderone cost Holt his first win of the season, connecting for a two-run homer off reliever Eric Niesen (0-1) in the top of the ninth.