Orioles’ Jackson Holliday Showcases Advanced Approach

The Orioles may not be picking at the top of the draft again for a long time.

Much of that has to do with the resurgence of the major league team since 2019 No. 1 overall pick Adley Rutschman’s debut last May.

At this rate, it won’t be long until last year’s No. 1 pick—Jackson Holliday out of Stillwater (Okla.) High—is elevating the talent level in Baltimore, too. 

Holliday is off to the minors’ best start through the first eight weeks of the season, with a 1.213 OPS, 22 extra-base hits and more walks (31) than strikeouts (27) between Low-A Delmarva and High-A Aberdeen.

Orioles farm director Matt Blood said the success is a reflection of the 19-year-old shortstop’s “overall polish.”

“He’s just a very advanced player and person when it comes to professional baseball,” Blood said. “His strike-zone discipline for his age—and he was in high school last year—to have that ability at such a young age is really impressive.”

Holliday’s baseball bloodlines—his father Matt was an MLB all-star—have a lot to do with that. But the Orioles have been impressed with so many aspects of Holliday’s game.

He bought into their challenge-based hitting program and has been proactive in targeting areas he can improve in. His coaches have marveled at his deep understanding of the game and the reasoning for decisions he’s made.

But what stands out most is Holliday’s actual performance. He spent just 13 games in Low-A this season before moving to the South Atlantic League, where the fastball/slider combinations in High-A typically challenge even the most advanced Orioles hitting prospects

But Holliday was undaunted. He had reached base in his first 34 games this season.

Holliday’s early success means he could be at Double-A Bowie by midseason, making him the third Orioles shortstop prospect to reach that level after starting in Delmarva in the last three years.

Gunnar Henderson followed that path in 2021, with Darell Hernaiz moving three levels in 2022.


Colton Cowser, the Orioles’ first-round pick in 2021, went on the injured list at Triple-A Norfolk with a left quad injury on May 20. Cowser, 23, was batting .331 with a 1.023 OPS at the time of his injury.

Heston Kjerstad, the Orioles’ top pick in 2020, won organizational player of the month honors in April after hitting six home runs with a 1.004 OPS for Double-A Bowie. Righthander Jean Pinto, acquired from the Angels in December 2020 for Jose Iglesias, was the pitcher of the month after striking out 27 with a 2.50 ERA in 18 April innings for High-A Aberdeen.

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