Orioles promoting shortstop Jackson Holliday, baseball’s No. 1 prospect, to Triple-A – Boston Herald


Jackson Holliday is one step away from the major leagues.

The Orioles are promoting Holliday, ranked by Baseball America as the sport’s top prospect, to Triple-A Norfolk, a source with direct knowledge of the move told The Baltimore Sun late Sunday evening.

Baltimore drafted the shortstop out of high school with the first pick in the 2022 MLB draft. About 14 months later, he’s one more call from playing at Camden Yards.

Holliday, 19, began the 2023 campaign, his first full one as a professional, with Low-A Delmarva and has risen all the way to Triple-A in about five months. In 107 games between Low-, High- and Double-A, Holliday is slashing .333/.451/.517 — good for a .968 OPS — with 26 doubles, nine triples, 10 home runs, 23 stolen bases and 85 walks versus 101 strikeouts.

In July, Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said he “wouldn’t rule it out” when asked if Holliday could play for Baltimore in 2023.

“I wouldn’t rule it out, but, I mean, I don’t rule out anything, as you can probably tell,” he said. “One step at a time. He’s in Double-A. He was in high school a year ago. He’s doing very, very, very, very well. If he climbs beyond Double-A this year, it would be borderline unprecedented. I don’t want to put any more on his plate than continuing to kind of accrue his minor league experience.”

Holliday, the son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday, dominated Low-A in April to earn his first promotion, hitting .396 with a whopping 1.183 OPS in 14 games. He then spent the next two and a half months with High-A Aberdeen — a jump that is perhaps the minors’ toughest and a level that many Orioles prospects have struggled. But the wunderkind hit .314 with a .940 OPS with the IronBirds before moving up to Double-A Bowie in July.

He came down to Earth slightly with the Baysox, walking less and striking out more, but he still hit an impressive .326 with a .913 OPS. Holliday will now likely end his season with four weeks at Triple-A.

At every level, Holliday has displayed his elite skill set in monstrous performances. He recorded four hits and four RBIs in his second game of the season for Delmarva. In a May game for Aberdeen, he went 3-for-3 with a double, triple and home run in his first three plate appearances, but he didn’t get another to single and complete the cycle. IronBirds hitting coach Zach Cole later said that Holliday told him after the game that losing out on the chance for the cycle was “fine.”

“I’ll do it again,” Cole recalled. “We’ll be there again.”

In August, he went 5-for-6 with a triple for the Baysox for his third five-hit game of the season. A week later, Elias said during an Orioles broadcast on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network that Holliday was “about as polished as you can imagine.”

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Elias said. “To go out of high school and a calendar year be hitting .350 in Double-A is almost unheard of.”

Holliday’s addition to the Tides gives the International League’s best team another prospect. Ten of Baltimore’s top 14 prospects, according to Baseball America, are in Triple-A. Holliday joins outfielder Colton Cowser (No. 2), corner infielder Coby Mayo (No. 3), outfielder-first baseman Heston Kjerstad (No. 5), infielder Joey Ortiz (No. 6), left-hander Cade Povich (No. 10), second baseman Connor Norby (No. 11), outfielder Kyle Stowers (No. 12), right-hander Chayce McDermott (No. 13) and right-hander Justin Armbruester (No. 14).

The Orioles are also promoting 2023 draft picks Enrique Bradfield Jr. (first round), Mac Horvath (second) and Matthew Etzel (10th) from Delmarva to High-A Aberdeen, according to the source.

Bradfield, the Orioles’ first-round pick at No. 17 overall, has begun his professional career swimmingly. In 20 games between the Florida Complex League and Low-A, the former Vanderbilt star slashed .339/.517/.387 for a .904 OPS with 21 stolen bases and 22 walks versus 12 strikeouts.

What the 21-year-old lacks in power he makes up for with speed and defensive ability — two tools Baseball America ranks at an 80-grade level, the highest on the scale. On Sunday, Bradfield scored from second on a bunt.

Horvath, the Orioles’ second-round pick as an outfielder-third baseman out of North Carolina, hit .344 with a 1.051 OPS in 17 games between the FCL and Delmarva. Etzel, the club’s 10th-round pick as an outfielder out of Southern Miss, hit .333 with a .993 OPS, 18 stolen bases and 17 walks against 20 strikeouts in 25 games at the same levels.

MASNSports.com first reported the promotions.


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