Holliday on Basallo: "He is the real thing"

This time last year, the Orioles Jackson Holliday and Samuel Basallo – now the club’s top two rated prospects – were a couple of weeks away from reporting to Low-A Delmarva to start the 2023 season.

A year later both have continued to impress and progress as prospects and now they are two of the best in the sport. While Holliday is everyone’s No. 1 prospect, Basallo is ranked No. 10 by Baseball America, No. 17 by MLBPipeline.com and No. 27 by ESPN.com.

Two studs to help lead the best farm system in the sport and both could be in the lineup tonight at 7:05 p.m. when the O’s prospects play the Pittsburgh Pirates prospects in Bradenton in the Spring Breakout game that will be televised live by MLB Network.

Basallo played in his first spring game Monday and went 0-for-3 combined Monday and Tuesday. He has a stress fracture in his throwing elbow and is not ready to catch yet but can take at-bats in games as the DH.

If Holliday and Basallo are in the lineup together it will be the first time for that duo since they played for Delmarva late last April, before Holliday was moved to High-A Aberdeen. By the time Basallo later got to Aberdeen, Holliday had moved to Double-A Bowie and by the time Basallo played four games to end his 2023 season at Bowie, Holliday had moved to Triple-A Norfolk.

But he caught up and they are teammates this spring in the Baltimore clubhouse and will be tonight against Pittsburgh.

In a farm where he plays with the game’s No. 1 prospect in Holliday and another in Coby Mayo who produced 29 homers and an OPS of .973 last season, it was Basallo who led the O’s farm last summer in wRC+ (min, 200 PAs).

162 – Basallo

159 – Holliday

156 – Mayo

“He is the real thing,” Holliday told me recently in Sarasota of Basallo. “I remember our first few games (last April) were in Salem, Va. and it was freezing cold, and he hit two homers. One of them, he hit it like 50 feet over the wall, just outstanding. Really impressive and he is such a good kid and I have enjoyed being with him as a teammate. Watching him do his thing, pretty special. Excited to see how fast he can move up.”

Basallo’s rise has been such that before last year he was No. 15 on the O’s top 30 prospects list. Now he is No. 10 on a top 100 list.

“I think he is handling it well,” said Holliday, 20 of Basallo, 19. “He is somewhat soft-spoken and seems to be humble. Think he is in a good spot. Personality-wise he can handle that and who knows, maybe he is the next Orioles’ No. 1 prospect. That would be pretty sweet. Definitely rooting for him and he’s an easy person to like.”

The Orioles’ 26-man roster for tonight’s seven-inning game includes 15 members of their MLBPipeline.com top 30 list, it includes seven of their top 10 prospects and three in a the top 100 with Holliday, Basallo and Mayo. 

Here is the O’s roster and each player’s top 30 team ranking:


Cade Povich – No. 10
Trace Bright – No. 17
Keagan Gillies
Nolan Hoffman
Trey McGough
Yaqui Rivera
Kade Strowd


Samuel Basallo – No. 2
Creed Willems – No. 30
Silas Ardoin
Connor Pavolony


Jackson Holliday – No. 1
Coby Mayo – No. 4
Connor Norby – No. 7
Leandro Arias – No. 16
Frederick Bencosme – No. 28
Billy Cook
Carter Young
Luis Valdez


Enrique Bradfield Jr. – No. 6
Dylan Beavers – No. 8
Jud Fabian – No. 13
Braylin Tavera – No. 14
Thomas Sosa – No. 23
John Rhodes – No. 24
Matthew Etzel

The Orioles Spring Breakout Coaching Staff is below:

Manager: Roberto Mercado (Bowie Manager).

Pitching Coach: Austin Meine (Bowie Pitching Coach).

Hitting Coach: Josh Bunselmeyer (Bowie Hitting Coach).

Additional Coaches: Felipe Rojas Alou Jr. (Aberdeen Manager), Ryan Goll (Aberdeen Development Coach), Elbis Morel (DSL Orioles Manager), Miguel Jabalera (DSL Fundamentals Coach).

Athletic Trainers: Alan Rail (Norfolk Athletic Trainer), Seth Ellanson (Norfolk Assistant Athletic Trainer), Julio Ibarra (Bowie Athletic Trainer).

Strength and Conditioning Coach: Chris Frosch (Aberdeen Strength and Conditioning Coach).

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