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.
In taking Oklahoma high school shortstop Jackson Holiday to that spot on Sunday night after three years, Baltimore overtook this year’s alleged top player. The organization believes it has found a player who, just like Rutschman, can be a difference-maker, whatever it is.
“It’s an absolute honor to be selected No. 1 and join such greats in that position,” Holiday said on MLB Network. “I’m really, really excited.”
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 drafting him, the Orioles avoided players ahead of him, including Georgia High School outfielder Drew Jones, who was the best player in the class in both publications. Jones ranked second only to the Arizona Diamondbacks overall.
“I’m really happy for Jackson,” Matt Holiday said on MLB Network. “It’s been his dream until he’s old enough to achieve this goal.”
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.
Holiday was the choice of the Orioles in a square littered with the sons of former major leaguers, with the children of Andrew Jones, Carl Crawford and Lou Collier also expected to make the first round. The Orioles picked Holiday from a group of five players believed to have included Jones, Florida high school outfielder Elijah Green, Georgia High School second baseman Termar Johnson and Cal Poly shortstop Brooks Lee.
Considering such a large group, executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias admitted a week before the draft that it was doubtful that all of the Orioles’ decision-makers would agree on a single player.
“We’ll have someone who makes everyone happy,” Elias said. “I think there’s enough consensus on how good these players are that I can’t imagine there would be a lot of people raving about it.”
The slot value of the first overall pick is a little over $8.84 million, and it is unclear whether the Orioles will need to reach that figure instead of deploying the underslot strategy used in their previous two drafts to take Holiday. 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.
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, Reutsman signed under his slot value, with those savings largely devoted to second-round pick Gunnar Henderson, who has since been the Orioles’ lead. 2 prospect and represented his highest-drafted high schooler. before the holiday.
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.
“We take the player we want to take and we want to start our draft and we think the draft is going to maximize class,” Elias said last week. “Detailing beyond that is something that I don’t think is in the best interest of the organization for me, especially this week. But rest assured that we are going to any higher picks with the goal of maximizing the production of that pick.” “
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.
The Orioles have three more picks on Sunday’s opening night of the draft. On either side of the 42nd overall pick to open the second round, he has a competitive balance pick – first his own at number 33, then a Miami Marlins, from number 67, achieved as part of a return for reliever Cole. Sulser and Tanner Scott.
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.