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Can Baseball’s Top Prospect Jackson Holliday Crack Orioles’ Opening Day Roster?

Published 02/24/2024, 8:30 AM EST

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The Baltimore Orioles are going through a dream run right now. While sitting atop the AL East is a massive achievement, it’s the kind of prospects that they have that make things exciting. The O’s have been consistently at or near the top of the league for farm systems. With a hoard of talents at their disposal, the Orioles are entering Spring Training with tough decisions to make. The toughest being – should the no.1 prospect Jackson Holliday be a starter or not?

For the third year in a row, the Orioles have the No. 1 prospect in MLB. The fact that both of the last two prospects turned out to be massive successes in major leagues is hidden from anyone. But this can increase the pressure on Holliday, who at just 20 is looking to become a major league starter. Can he do it? He certainly has the tools to compete with the best.

Jackson Holliday looks ready to take the world by storm

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Holliday turned 20 in December. This means that in 2023, at just the age of 19, he had 154 hits and 113 runs across all four minor league levels. The sheer raw potential that Holliday displays isn’t a common occurrence in baseball. So can he become a part of the opening day roster? The question can’t be answered without looking at what makes Holliday so different. 

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Jon Meoli of The Baltimore Banner recently talked about the rapid development of Holliday – “He walked 17.4% of the time across four levels, he didn’t chase often, and he made a ton of contact in the zone.” At just the age of 19, Holliday shows the kind of discipline that’s seen in veteran players. The fact that this youngster had 101 walks in 2023 is astounding. 

In 2023, the no.1 prospect had a hard-hit rate of 45.5%, a massive increase from 26.1% in previous years. His flyball rate reduced from 38.5% to 22.5%. In totality, the youngster has consistently shown immense growth in his abilities, so it isn’t far-fetched if he does get to start in the Orioles squad. 

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However, there’s one fact that is going against Holliday – the great infield depth of the Orioles.

The great competition inside the Baltimore Orioles 

The competition is fierce inside the Orioles, especially in the infield. There’s Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg, Ramon Ureas, and Jorge Mateo. All of them have a strong case and could very well be ahead of Holliday. As a result, if Holliday has to start, he will have to prove without any doubt that he’s ready for the big leagues. But then another situation arises.

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Meoli noted how Holliday spending a few weeks or months in minor leagues could lead to the O’s having a longer hold on him. In a way, baseball economics could also come into play here. While it’s just a speculation for now, there’s certainly a big battle to be fought here for the young Jackson Holliday.

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Written by:

Sanskar Dubey

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“Rigidity leads to demise, while adaptability paves the path to vitality." Driven by a deep passion for sports, I’m glad I found baseball. Now serving as an MLB writer at EssentiallySports, I love to write about the thrilling tussle between the National League and American League throughout the season, although I may have a fondness for a particular Yankees icon named Alex Rodriguez.
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Edited by:

Deepanshi Bajaj