The Orioles are not wasting any more time having last year’s #1 overall pick Jackson Holliday facing competition that is clearly not on his level. The team announced a promotion to the High-A Aberdeen IronBirds on Monday afternoon. Holliday is one step closer to his aggressive goal of reaching the big league level two years after being drafted.
I thought Holliday could have just started the season with Aberdeen. I don’t really know why he didn’t. Within the last few days, The Baltimore Banner’s Jon Meoli wrote about just how much Holliday wasn’t being challenged by his level of competition and how he had to work on his own to challenge himself. The signs were obvious and the team decided not to wait any longer. He’s heading up a level.
Holliday was destroying the Low-A competition through the first two weeks of the season. In 13 games with Delmarva before this promotion, he batted .392/.523/.667. They were clearly scared of pitching to him - he walked more times (14) than he struck out (12) - and even in spite of that he managed to hit as well as he did. He’ll hit the High-A level having spent just 25 games at Low-A, counting 12 games there last year.
It was something of a surprise when the Orioles chose Holliday in the draft last year, but so far in his pro career he’s only validated their judgment. The prospect writers of the world have noticed. Holliday started off this season in the top 10 of some prospect lists, and in at least one that regularly prunes for graduated prospects, Holliday’s already crept into the top 10 since the start of the season. This guy is good and he’s still only in his age 19 season. If he keeps performing like he’s capable of doing, this will not be the last promotion Holliday receives by the end of the season.
If there’s one unfortunate thing to be said for the timing of this promotion, it’s that the Orioles affiliate he’s joining is on the road for the next two weeks, so fans won’t get a chance to see him at Aberdeen until May 9. The Orioles have been extremely unsentimental about lining up MLB prospect debuts so it’s not too surprising to see them not worry about this for intra-minors prospect promotions either. Hopefully, Holliday’s already built a great batting line by the time he ever gets to play a home game with Aberdeen.