The trajectory that Jackson Holliday has been on since he became the Orioles’ first-overall pick in the 2022 MLB draft is steep. At 19, Holliday flew through four levels of the minor leagues, ending this season with Triple-A Norfolk.

At each stop, Holliday produced. And as a result, a Baltimore prospect has earned the recognition as Baseball America’s minor league player of the year for the second straight season.

Last year, former top prospect Gunnar Henderson earned the title from Baseball America after a breakout year of his own ended with him in the major leagues. Holliday, two years younger than Henderson was at the time of the award, shot from Low-A Delmarva to Norfolk in one season. Across all four levels, he holds a .323 batting average and .941 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.

Holliday’s trajectory could lead him to the major leagues out of spring training next season, particularly should an opening in the infield arise. Holliday, who bats left-handed, is a natural shortstop but has played 25 games at second base in the minors as well.

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The son of former major league All-Star Matt Holliday, Jackson Holliday has impressed with his poise through it all. Holliday took part in major league spring training, where he received ample late-inning opportunities under the watchful eye of manager Brandon Hyde.

“I was just really impressed with how he handled everything, with how he fit in. Didn’t try to do too much,” Hyde said earlier this month. “A lot of young guys try to do too much, especially in their first big league camp — especially at that age. He just was really consistent and caught the ball at short really well. I just enjoyed having him.”

Holliday is the third Orioles prospect to earn Baseball America’s minor league player of the year award, following Henderson in 2022 and catcher Matt Wieters in 2008. Holliday also ranks as Baseball America’s top prospect in the sport. And with this honor, Holliday becomes the fourth player to win both Baseball America’s high school and minor league player of the year awards, joining catcher Joe Mauer, outfielder Byron Buxton and shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.

Past winners of the award also include Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr.

Holliday is in that company because of the otherworldly numbers he has put up. He hit .396 for Low-A Delmarva before a rapid promotion to High-A Aberdeen, where he hit .314. He found success with Double-A Bowie and earned a call-up to Triple-A this month; he is hitting .267 with the Tides.

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Norfolk is a likely starting spot for Holliday in 2024, but there’s no ruling out Holliday for a place on the Orioles by the end of spring.

andy.kostka@thebaltimorebanner.com

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville. 

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