Holliday makes AAA debut, settles into Norfolk

Holliday makes AAA debut, settles into Norfolk

NORFOLK, VA (EHOURL)- Baseball’s next projected big star now calls Norfolk home. Jackson Holliday took the field at Harbor Park for the first time on Tuesday night, capping off his climb of the Orioles’ minor league system.

Holliday went 1-for-4 with a double and a walk in his Tides’ debut, picking up his first AAA hit in the seventh inning of Norfolk’s 9-4 loss to Jacksonville. The infielder, ranked as the top prospect in baseball, played shortstop and led off for Buck Britton’s club.

Just 19-years old, Holliday was the number one overall pick in the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft. He’s not doing many things that other guys his age are doing, but he’s OK with that.

“This is kind of what I’ve dreamed of doing ever since I was little,” he said prior to first pitch on Tuesday. “Baseball was my only option. I didn’t really have a plan B or anything like that so baseball is kind of what I’ve always planned on doing.”

There’s no question the young phenom is comfortable with the game, but he hasn’t been able to get too comfortable in minor league clubhouses. Holliday has climbed the ranks of Baltimore’s farm system at a rapid rate, reaching all four levels in 2023. He began his season at Low A Delmarva and is now on the cusp of the big leagues in Norfolk.

“I was talking to my mom the other day and she’s like, ‘It’s pretty impressive what you’ve done,'”he smiled. “I was like ‘yeah, I think so.’ It’s pretty crazy what all’s happened in a year, but I’m very grateful.”

“Obviously he’s a very unique situation where he’s still 19-years old and he’s had the meteoric rise that he has, so I’m really looking forward to getting to see him play,” Britton said.

The rise has come in impressive fashion. The middle infielder hit .338 in just 36 games with AA Bowie and .333 across all levels this season. Holliday notices the difference in the pitching talent with each jump.

“Whenever you’re ahead as a hitter, you’re usually thinking they’re going to throw a fastball,” he noted. “But they have the ability to kind of throw whatever pitch they want so that’s been the main difference.”

Perhaps even more impressive than his performance on the field is how he handles himself off of it. Holliday is the center of attention in every city he visits, facing media and fans who are tracking his progress. Growing up around Major League clubhouses helps with that, as he’s the son of seven-time All-Star and 2011 World Champion Matt Holliday.

“I’m starting to get used to it,” the younger Holliday said of dealing with all the hype. “Growing up in the clubhouse, there were a lot of media guys in there so I think that comfort of just growing up in it has been very helpful.”

“I’ve heard nothing but great things about how he’s gone about it,” Britton added. “Hopefully he can just come out here and play the way he’s been playing for the last four or five months.”

He’s made it this far in a short period of time, so will 2023 end with a call-up from the Orioles?

“I don’t know,” Holliday said. “My goal was to make it to AA and here we are now, so I don’t really know. I’m just going to go out there and enjoy each and every day and whatever happens happens.”

“Just an impressive young man,” Britton said of his newest player. “He’s been around the game a long time, he gets it and obviously the skill set’s off the charts, so we’re excited.”

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