SARASOTA, Fla. — At this time a year ago, Jackson Holliday was still a teenager, only shortly removed from attending high school classes, yet thrust into his first major league spring training for a crash course in development. Practically every step he took drew eyes — from his new coaches, new teammates and new fans.

He was the golden-haired boy wonder, purely based on his draft position (first overall) and his pedigree.

The following 12 months, then, only solidified that position; he became the crown jewel among not only Orioles prospects but all minor league players. And he enters his second spring training with eyes locked on Baltimore, on an impending debut as a 20-year-old, on a future full of promise that is already being realized.

“It’s a little bit more exciting, right? You get a chance to make the team,” Holliday said Saturday in the clubhouse. “Just trying to take it day by day and enjoy these guys and enjoy getting better.”

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It is different, this go-around. Last year, Holliday arrived in Sarasota knowing he was destined for the minor leagues. The infielder, son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday, debuted late in 2022 and reached Low-A Delmarva. With high hopes for Holliday’s future, the Orioles invited him to 2023 spring training to watch and learn.

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He wound up impressing beyond Baltimore’s expectations.

“It was fun having him in spring training,” manager Brandon Hyde said in September 2023. “That was pretty rare, too, to have a high school kid in his first spring training to be in major league camp. … I was just really impressed with how he handled everything, how he fit in. He didn’t try to do too much. A lot of young guys try to do too much, especially in their first big league camp, especially at that age. And he just was really consistent.”

That exposure laid the groundwork for a rapid-fire elevation through Baltimore’s farm system. He hit .396 in 14 games with Delmarva, then batted .314 at High-A Aberdeen. Holliday hit .338 with Double-A Bowie and then, in 18 games, recorded a .267 batting average at Triple-A Norfolk.

That final stop, with the Tides, proved to cause the first hiccup in Holliday’s ascent. His on-base-plus-slugging percentage at that level was .796, more than 100 percentage points below what he posted at each other stop in his journey.

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“It’s a lot different,” Holliday said of Triple-A. “You’re playing against guys that have been in the big leagues, and some of them that have been in the big leagues for a long time. It was a little different, but I think towards the end I started to adjust a lot better. Just compared to Double-A, Triple-A, I’d say the guys can throw it wherever they want a little bit more. In Double-A, there’s probably a little better stuff, but once I got to Triple-A, I noticed that I needed to be a little bit more particular with the pitches I swing at, because they like to nibble. I think I learned a lot, and I think I’m in a better position than I was at the end of the year.”

Holliday — who arrived early to spring training, before position players were due to report — is hoping to win a job in Baltimore. He figures that will require playing his natural shortstop and learning to master second base.

“He’s going to take ground balls in both places,” Hyde said Saturday. “I know he’s way more comfortable at shortstop than second base at this point. So we want to make sure he’s as comfortable at second as well.”

Holliday said his adjustment to second base has been “pretty good.” It’s not fundamentally different from shortstop, but the throw is shorter and from a different angle. The ball off the bat may spin differently. Turning two at second base requires different steps.

“So far in practice, it has been pretty good,” Holliday said. “Just learning bits and pieces, trying to put them together, trying to stay athletic with it. I think it’s a position you just have to be athletic with and just play the game, and it will come naturally.”

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But is he ready for The Show? Is Holliday ready for another jump in level?

“Yeah, absolutely,” Holliday said. “I’m as ready as I can be, I think. I’m excited.”

He said it with confidence, even as his eyes drifted down. Holliday is not one to bombastically boast. His track record, after all, speaks for itself.