When the Orioles had their first pick of the MLB draft, they selected a player who was seen as the top prospect available and who became a guiding force in their rebuilding in catcher Adley Ratschmann.
After three years in taking Oklahoma high school shortstop Jackson Holiday that spot on Sunday night, Baltimore surpassed the alleged top player of the year, but he got what he sees, the organization believes. That he’s found a player who can be just as much. Ratshman as the difference-maker, regardless.
“It’s hard to explain what that means,” Holiday said. “It’s like a video game, honestly. Every video game you play, you’re the first choice, so that’s what it felt like. Something I’ll never forget, and it’s a true honor.”
“I want to honor the Orioles for choosing me and I’m going to work hard to make it into the major leagues and build a wonderful career for them and their fans.”
Holiday, the son of seven-time All-Star Matt Holiday, was considered one of the top prospects of the draft, ranked second by MLB Pipeline and third by Baseball America. But in his drafting, the Orioles surpassed Georgia High School outfielder Drew Jones as the best player of the class in both publications. Jones ranked second only to the Arizona Diamondbacks overall.
1 pick until the public did, his father received a call from Agent Scott Boras and kept the news a secret for the next minute. He credits his father, whom he had seen in the big league clubhouse, for developing his mindset.
He has competed in mini golf in recent weeks to help take Holiday’s mind off the draft, as well as follow his younger brother Ethan along his summer baseball circuit.
“As a kid, he never cared about how good or how bad his game was, and it’s something I took from him about how well he handled failure,” Holiday said. “It’s something I really, really want to be good at, and that’s what you need to be good at when you’re getting into this lifestyle.”
Holiday became the first high school position player selected with Baltimore’s first pick since Manny Machado in 2010. A left-handed hitter, he showed superior strength and speed in his senior season at Stillwater High School. Tracing his father’s influence, Holiday has a poignant attitude and strong instincts at the plate as he set a national record for hits in one season, with the hope that he will also inherit power from his father. was found.
In his 40-game senior season, the 18-year-old Holliday hit .685 with a .749 on-base percentage and 1.392 slugging percentage, thanks to 52 extra-base hits, which included 17 home runs, and added 30 steals. Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said that Holiday emerged as a likely candidate for No. 1 relatively late. The club did not consider him for selection during staff meetings over the winter, but his improvements since then have seen the organization as a potential fixture.
“The upside for that is huge,” Elias said. “This is a potential star playing shortstop, batting in the middle order, doing that for a very long time. In some cases, I don’t know that the ceiling goes much higher than someone with that profile.”
Elias said that Holiday’s breakout set off a “fire alarm in the scouting industry.” Area scouts Ken Guthrie and Jim Richardson visit Elias with his family, several generations of whom live in the college town between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, before traveling to Stillwater to see Holliday in three games and a workout.
Holiday was the choice of the Orioles in a square littered with sons of former major leaguers, with the children of Andrew Jones, Karl Crawford and Lou Collier also going into the first round. The Orioles selected Holiday from a group of five players, which Elias confirmed without being named directly, including Jones, Florida high school outfielder Elijah Green (fifth overall for Washington) and Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee (for Minnesota). Eighth). Georgia High School second baseman Termar Johnson, who finished fourth overall in Pittsburgh, was considered fifth.
Considering such a large group, Elias admitted a week before the draft that it was doubtful that all of the Orioles’ decision-makers would agree on a single player. He said on Sunday that Holiday received a “yes” vote from all involved, even if some preferred another player.
“I think ‘consensus’ is the right word for it,” Elias said. “It was not unanimous. It never is. … But it was a player that anyone involved was deemed worthy of selection.
“It was a very difficult decision in a good way. I’d love it to be the one to decide what to order at a five-star restaurant.”
The slot value of the first overall pick is a little over $8.84 million, and although Holiday’s signing bonus is not expected to reach that figure, his choice is not one that would suggest the underslot strategy the Orioles used in their last two. will deploy. Draft. Holiday is committed to the state of Oklahoma, where his uncle, Josh, leads the program, his father is an assistant, and his grandfather and great-uncle previously trained; He said his uncle was “very excited” after the pick, happy that his nephew was prepared rather than upset over losing a top recruit. Holiday is also a client of the sport’s most famous agent, Boras, who represented both his father and uncle during his playing career.
After moving college outfielders Heston Kjerstad to second place in 2020 and Colton Kauser to fifth overall in 2021, the Orioles signed both deals below slot values for their draft positions, allowing Baltimore to make those savings later. I was able to expand to other possibilities in the draft. Even after receiving a then-record $8.1 million bonus, Rutschmann signed under his slot price, with savings that were primarily devoted to second-round pick Gunnar Henderson, who has since become the Orioles’ number one. 2 has become a possibility and represents the highest-draft of this front office. High Schooler Before Holiday. Brad Siolek, the Orioles’ director of draft operations, said Jackson’s physical maturity during his senior year of high school is reminiscent of Henderson, now regarded as a Top 10 prospect in the sport.
“There are a lot of similarities there,” Siolek said. “We were really blown away about the total complete player he had replaced.”
This year, the Orioles have a total bonus pool of approximately $17 million, only behind the 2015 Houston Astros. Elias was Houston’s amateur scouting director at the time, and it is only the third time out of nine top-fives that he is included that his team has selected a high school status player.
“I hope Jackson has a good chance of skillfully advancing through the minors and joining this group,” Elias said. “I’ve seen the likes of high school that move just as fast, if not faster, than college players. It just depends. Everyone’s different. But it was the possibility we wanted to add to our pipeline. “
Elias has had varying success with his first three first-round picks in Baltimore. Ratsman became a top-order prospect in baseball, seen as the face of the Orioles rebuilding and a player capable of turning their tide. Baltimore have been a more successful team since their promotion in late May, completing the first half on Sunday as a surprise playoff contender.
Gerstad didn’t make his professional debut until two years after his selection after being diagnosed with the heart condition myocarditis after the draft and suffering a left hamstring strain this spring. He was promoted to High-A Aberdeen last week after dominating young pitchers with Low-A Delmarva.
After selecting him, Elias states that Kausar has the ability to rise rapidly, and has proven himself despite some struggles along the way. Despite more swings and misses from his time at Sam Houston, Kauser has already reached Double-A, joining the Orioles sometime in 2023.
Holiday becomes the latest addition to the collection of middle infielders, joining Henderson, Jordan Westberg, Teryn Vavra, Connor Norby, Cesar Prieto and others since Elias took over the front office. Elias promised to build an “elite talent pipeline” when they were first introduced, the Orioles’ system to be continually restored, and Holiday’s selection is the first of this year’s additions.
Elias noted that in that 2015 draft, the Astros replaced LSU shortstop Alex Bregman for second overall in the same year that Carlos Correa, a shortstop he had drafted for the first time overall in 2012, made his debut. . They both took the field without issue, culminating in a World Series title in 2017.
“When you’re shortstop, it’s hard to block yourself,” Elias said.
The Orioles had three more picks on Sunday’s opening night of the draft. Ranked 33rd overall in the competitive balancing round, he drafted Cal outfielder Dylan Beavers before picking up Clemson’s third baseman Max Wagner with a second-round first pick, 42nd overall. On the first day of the draft, his final selection of No. 67 was received as part of the withdrawal of relievers Cole Sulcer and Tanner Scott from the Miami Marlins.
Baltimore is Baltimore’s first pick in each subsequent round, with rounds 3–10 on Monday before the draft closes with rounds 10 on Tuesday. But it all started with the holiday.
“He has everything in front of him and a tremendous family and support system that will work closely with our people to get the most out of Jackson and his career over the next few years,” Elias said. “I think it’s clearly the No. 1 overall pick with what is already a top form system baseball and now has a young, talented major league team.”