Jackson Holliday, in his third Double-A game at age 19, already had six hits at the level when he came to the plate with the winning run on third base in the bottom of the ninth inning.
He drew an intentional walk.
Drafted first overall out of high school in 2022, Holliday had already torn through two Class A levels and emerged as the game’s top prospect by mid July. But it was around that time that the Orioles realized the shortstop might reach even more rarefied air.
“When you saw that, and you saw his production there, pretty quickly you realize he could probably use a greater challenge,” Orioles farm director Matt Blood said. “We like to challenge our guys, and as crazy as it was, Double-A wasn’t a great enough challenge for him.
“He needed to go to Triple-A to get that challenge.”
The evidence backs that up. Holliday played 107 games combined for Low-A Delmarva, High-A Aberdeen and Double-A Bowie. In that time he hit .333/.451/.517 with 10 home runs, 23 stolen bases and 85 walks. The Orioles promoted him to Triple-A Norfolk on Sept. 5.
Holliday more than held his own against older International League competition. He hit his first Triple-A home run on Sept. 14 and had drawn as many walks as strikeouts through 14 games.
The Orioles hope to play deep into the playoffs, and Holliday could still get a taste of October baseball if a need arises. Baltimore knew he was advanced but never envisioned him ending up at the highest minor league level—and possibly MLB—in his first full season.
“I’m not going to bet against him, in really anything, because he’s very talented,” Blood said. “He’s a great combination of talent and makeup—his work ethic, desire to be great, and the underlying foundation of skills are there.
“He’s got really good coaches working with him, and that’s a pretty healthy combination to help someone succeed.”