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Tuesday Bird Droppings: The Jackson Holliday hype train rolls on

The Athletic’s Keith Law became the fifth prominent writer to rank the Orioles’ shortstop as the #1 prospect in baseball.

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Starting to think this kid might be pretty good.
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Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s a day of the week that ends in Y, which means another prospect ranking has come out with Jackson Holliday listed at the very top.

The Athletic’s Keith Law unveiled his top 100 list yesterday and — just like Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, MLB Pipeline, and ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel before him — Law ranked the Orioles’ 20-year-old shortstop as the #1 prospect in baseball. At this point, nearly every major prospect publication has weighed in (aside from FanGraphs, which has not yet updated its 2024 list) and it’s unanimous: there’s no better prospect anywhere than Jackson Holliday.

Life is good, Orioles fans.

Law raves about Holliday’s “incredible feel for the game” and his stellar work on both sides of the ball, noting that his “exceptional hand-eye coordination” makes him a possible .300 hitter and 25+ homer guy at the plate, along with defense at shortstop that Law feels is even better than Gunnar Henderson’s. He sees Holliday as a potential MVP winner and compares him to Troy Tulowitzki, who had a sensational 10 years with the Rockies before injuries torpedoed his career in his early 30s. If Holliday turns into a Tulowitzki with a longer career...um, yes please!

Law’s top 100 includes five Orioles. As with the other four publications, he’s got Holliday, Samuel Basallo, Coby Mayo, and Heston Kjerstad on his list, but unlike all the others, he excludes Colton Cowser, who is ranked as high as #19 on MLB Pipeline. Perhaps Cowser’s failed big-league audition in 2023 raised some alarm bells for Law. On the other hand, Law is the high man on 2023 first round pick Enrique Bradfield Jr., whom he ranks #64, just two spots behind Kjerstad. Baseball Prospectus was the only other publication to include Bradfield in its top 100, slotting him at #82. Law evaluates Bradfield as an 80 runner — the highest possible score on the scouting scale — and a 70-80 defender, two elite skills that should carry him to the majors no matter how his offense develops.

To review, here’s how each publication has ranked the Orioles so far:

  • The Athletic: Holliday (#1), Basallo (#20), Mayo (#27), Kjerstad (#62), Bradfield (#64)
  • Baseball America: Holliday (#1), Basallo (#10), Mayo (#25), Cowser (#34), Kjerstad (#41)
  • Baseball Prospectus: Holliday (#1), Basallo (#13), Mayo (#15), Kjerstad (#41), Cowser (#51), Bradfield (#82)
  • MLB Pipeline: Holliday (#1), Basallo (#17), Cowser (#19), Mayo (#30), Kjerstad (#32)
  • ESPN: Holliday (#1), Mayo (#19), Basallo (#27), Kjerstad (#47), Cowser (#50)

Two recently traded Orioles prospects also appear in these rankings, with Joey Ortiz showing up in Law’s, Pipeline’s, BA’s, and ESPN’s top 100 lists, and DL Hall in BA’s as well. The O’s have an embarrassment of prospect riches even after dealing those two for Corbin Burnes.

Like I said: life is good, Orioles fans.

Links

7 things to know about O’s new ace Burnes - MLB.com
If you haven’t watched many MIlwaukee Brewers games the last few years and aren’t sure what makes Corbin Burnes so great, Jake Rill has all the details about his dominance.

Looking at Orioles’ roster questions with spring training in sight - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff analyzes the roster battles in camp, which, for the first time in a long time, don’t seem to involve the starting rotation.

Orioles position preview: Adley Rutschman already an elite catcher - Baltimore Sun
The Sun’s position preview begins with arguably the most stable position on the Orioles, unless Basallo makes things very interesting with a surprise midseason call-up.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And a very happy 26th birthday to Adley Rutschman, the player whose arrival in the majors ushered in a new era of contention for the Orioles. In just two seasons — not even two full seasons — Rutschman has been an All-Star, a Silver Slugger, a Rookie of the Year runner-up, a Home Run Derby showman, and has twice finished in the top 12 in the MVP vote. Since the day he debuted in May 2022, the Orioles are 168-116 (.592) and have never been swept in a regular season series. Enjoy your day, Adley!

It’s also the birthday of former Orioles DH Pedro Alvarez (37). He did not exactly usher in a new era of contention, but I hope he enjoys his day as well.

On this day in 2012, new O’s executive vice president Dan Duquette made his first major trade since his hiring three months earlier, trading away workhorse starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie to the Rockies for right-handers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom. The deal wasn’t well received at the time, but it turned out great for the Birds. Hammel emerged as the Orioles’ best starter during their remarkable run to their playoffs in 2012, while Lindstrom was dealt later in the season for eventual postseason hero Joe Saunders. Meanwhile, Guthrie suffered through 19 terrible games for the Rockies before reviving his career in Kansas City.