Baltimore Orioles key player Doesn’t Make 2024 Opening Day Roster; MLB’s No. 1 Prospect

When the 2024 MLB regular season begins next week, Jackson Holliday will not be on the Baltimore Orioles’ already crowded infield.

Holliday, the MLB’s top overall prospect, was sent to minor league camp on Friday. He will most likely start the season with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, where he finished 2023.

This is a disheartening, if not surprising, conclusion for Holliday. The 20-year-old clearly appeared to be one of the top players in the Orioles’ camp. In 45 at-bats, he slashed.311/.354/.600 with two home runs, six RBI, and two stolen bases.

If there is one argument against Holliday right now, it is that the Orioles do not necessarily have a space for him. Gunnar Henderson, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year, is locked in at shortstop.
Jordan Westburg, a top-20 prospect last season, was slated to start at second base. As a rookie in 2023, the 25-year-old hit.260/.311/.404 in 228 plate appearances.

Orioles reassign prized prospect Jackson Holliday to minor league camp |  WBAL Baltimore News
The argument for Holliday to make the Opening Day roster is his versatility, which would benefit manager Brandon Hyde. Holliday might play shortstop, while Henderson moves to third base.

The hot corner is the one position in the infield in Baltimore that is currently unsettled. Ramón Urías is expected to start at third base, but he struggled last season with a.264/.328/.375 slash line in 116 games.

This circumstance could lead to another issue in the future, as Coby Mayo, who was also reassigned on Friday, will play third base on the same Norfolk squad as Holliday.

Mayo is a top-30 prospect heading into this season. He might eventually go to first base because to his size—he’s listed at 6’5″ and 230 pounds—but starting him there right away would be a waste of his talent.

These are roster issues that every MLB club want to have. Holliday will ultimately make it to Baltimore, most likely sooner rather than later, but he has only 54 games of minor league experience above the High-A level.

Jackson, the son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holliday, was the first overall choice in the 2022 MLB draft. Last season, he hit.323/.442/.499 in 125 games across four levels, with 12 home runs and 75 RBI.

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