Jackson Holliday

From BR Bullpen

Jackson Matthew Holliday

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Jackson Holliday is the son of OF Matt Holliday. He was the first overall pick of the 2022 amateur draft.

A shortstop and second baseman at Stillwater High School, he quickly distinguished himself as one of the top high school players in the country and as a candidate to be among the top picks in the draft, although there was no consensus "best player" that year. He was said to be one of five players still being considered by the Baltimore Orioles, who held the top pick, on the eve of the draft, which took place on July 17th, but most experts thought the Birds would settle on another second-generation player, Druw Jones, with Holliday then going either #2 or #3. He was the Oklahoma Prep Player of the Year and Baseball America's National High School Player of the Year in 2022 when he set a national record with 89 hits in just 41 games, batting .685/.749/1.392 with 17 home runs. J.T. Realmuto held the hit record before him. He was considered the prototypical five-tool prospect heading into the draft.

The Orioles had generally not picked high school players with their top picks in recent years, but decided to make an exception for Jackson. General Manager Mike Elias described him as: "a potential star playing shortstop, batting in the middle of the order, doing so for a very long time. In some regard, I don't know that the ceiling gets much higher than somebody with that profile." Holliday signed quickly, as on July 21st, it was announced that he had agreed on a signing bonus of $8.19 million - almost equal to what the Arizona Diamondbacks, who had the second pick, had offered Druw Jones a day earlier. The signing was officially confirmed on July 27th as Holliday stated that his plan was to reach the majors in two years or less. He started his career with the FCL Orioles, then after 8 games of batting .409 was promoted to the Delmarva Shorebirds of the Carolina League for another 12 games. Overall, he batted .297/.489/.420 with 14 runs in 20 games while playing shortstop and second base. He then received an invitation to take in part in major league spring training with the Orioles in 2023 as a non-roster invitee.

He started 2023 in Class A with the Delmarva Shorebirds but quickly earned a promotion to the High-A Aberdeen IronBirds by hitting .396 and slugging .660 in 14 games. At the end of June, less than a year after he was drafted he was promoted by mlb.com to the top spot on its 100 top prospects list. A few days later, he was named as a member of the !American League team at the 2023 Futures Game. Just after the game, he was promoted to the AA Bowie BaySox of the Eastern League. He had hit .331 with 7 homers and 51 RBIs between Delmarva and Aberdeen. Continuing his outstanding season, he had his third five-hit game of the year on August 11th as he went 5 for 6 for Bowie in a 9-7 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels. By then, he had been promoted to the rank of #1 prospect in baseball. He made it to AAA by the end of the season and helped the Norfolk Tides win the Triple-A National Championship.

Even with the Orioles loaded with prospects, Holliday was the main focus of attention in spring training in 2024, the main question being whether he would start the season with the big league team. His performance made it clear that he had big league skills already. However, on March 22nd, the Orioles announced he would go back to AAA to start the year, the reasons cited being that he was learning to play a new position (second base) with Rookie of the Year Gunnar Henderson now a full-time shortstop, and that he also lacked experience facing top lefty pitchers. If it was any consolation, he was not alone in his plight as a number of other players who would likely be heading north with any other team were also sent down, including Heston Kjerstad and Kyle Stowers, a reflection of how loaded with young talent the Orioles were at that point. If there were any doubters left, he opened his AAA ledger by leading off two of his first four games with a home run for the Norfolk Tides, including one in his first at-bat of the season. On April 3rd, he went 4 for 6 with 2 walks and scored 5 runs in a record-setting 26-11 win over the Charlotte Knights. The much-anticipated call-up came on April 9th, just in time for him to make his team eligible for an extra draft pick, if like Henderson, he were to be the league's top rookie. In 10 games at Norfolk, he was batting .333 with an OPS over 1.000.

The whole Holliday clan flew in on a private plane from Stillwater, OK to Boston, MA to be present for Jackson's debut at Fenway Park on April 10th. Playing third base and batting 9th, he went 0 for 4 with 2 strikeouts, but also collected his first career RBI on a ground out in the 6th in a 7-5 win over the Boston Red Sox. He went hitless in his first three games before obtaining his first safety on April 14th, a 7th-inning single off Abner Uribe in a 6-4 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. He had gone 0 for 13 with 9 strikeouts until then. He continued to struggle after that hit, and on April 26th he was sent back to AAA after going 2 for 34 with 18 Ks in 10 games.

In addition to his father's well-publicized major league career, his grandfather, Tom Holliday was the head coach at Oklahoma State University, as was his uncle, Josh Holliday. His younger brother, Ethan Holliday, is also considered a potential future top pick when he graduates in 2025.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Larry Berger (USA Today): "MLB's top prospect Jackson Holliday is putting on a show – and is hyped for Orioles' future", Yahoo! Sports, August 3, 2023. [1]
  • Theo DeRosa and Jake Rill: "No. 1 overall prospect Holliday getting the call to O's", mlb.com, April 10, 2024. [2]
  • Steve Gardner (USA Today): "Baltimore Orioles take SS Jackson Holliday with No. 1 overall pick in 2022 MLB draft", Yahoo! News, July 18, 2022. [3]
  • Jake Rill: "At just 19, Holliday's camp presence 'not the norm'", mlb.com, February 21, 2023. [4]
  • Jake Rill: "At 19, Holliday gets extended stay in 1st big league spring: Club's No. 3 prospect and former No. 1 overall Draft pick is youngest player in camp", mlb.com, March 13, 2023. [5]
  • Jake Rill: "O's promoting No. 1 prospect Holliday to Double-A (source)", mlb.com, July 9, 2023. [6]
  • Jake Rill: "'Strong possibility' Holliday makes O's Opening Day roster", mlb.com, December 5, 2023. [7]
  • Jake Rill: "Top prospect Holliday earns invite to O's spring camp", mlb.com, February 6, 2024. [8]
  • Jake Rill: "Holliday showing Major League poise with torrid spring: O's top prospect hitting, hustling, eyeing Major League roster spot", mlb.com, March 19, 2024. [9]
  • Jake Rill: "MLB No. 1 prospect Holliday to start season in Minors", mlb.com, March 22, 2024. [10]
  • Jake Rill: "Born for this: Holliday grew up ready for MLB debut", mlb.com, April 9, 2024. [11]
  • Jake Rill: "Everything you need to know about Holliday's debut", mlb.com, April 10, 2024. [12]
  • Jake Rill: "Hollidays soak in 'surreal' debut for top prospect Jackson: Matt Holliday reflects on son's rapid ascent to MLB: 'It’s what he’s always wanted to do'", mlb.com, April 10, 2024. [13]
  • Brendan Samson: "Hit fest for Holliday: No. 1 prospect tallies 3rd 5-hit game of the season", mlb.com, August 11, 2023. [14]
  • Zachary Silver: "O's take Jackson Holliday, son of Matt, with No. 1 pick", mlb.com, July 17, 2022. [15]
  • Zachary Silver: "O's, No. 1 pick Holliday agree to record deal (source)", mlb.com, July 21, 2022. [16]
  • Zachary Silver: "O's welcome No. 1 overall pick Jackson Holliday: Baltimore agrees with top pick to record deal for high school player", mlb.com, July 27, 2022. [17]
  • Ben Weinrib: "Holliday calls his shot, wallops 2nd leadoff homer in 4 games at Triple-A", mlb.com, April 2, 2024. [18]

Related Sites[edit]