Jackson Holliday from his press conference, and Terrin Vavra set for MLB debut

The Orioles third-ever No. 1 overall MLB Draft pick arrived at Camden Yards today. But not for good this time. Jackson Holliday, taken No. 1 overall by the team July 17, has signed his first pro contract and will report to the O’s camp in Sarasota, Fla. tomorrow.

He is going to start his pro career playing in the rookie-level Florida Complex League.

“I’m very, very excited to start playing,” the 18-year-old Holliday said at today’s introductory press conference that also featured O’s executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias and Holliday’s agent Scott Boras. “It’s been a little bit since I’ve been able to compete on the baseball field. So very excited to get down to Florida and get going. This is what I wanted to do as long as I can remember. It’s a blessing to be where I’m sitting right now.”

Holliday got a bonus of $8.19 million, a record for a high school selection. He produced prodigious 41-game high school stats of .685/.749/1.392 with 29 doubles, six triples, 17 homers and 79 RBIs. His 89 hits set a national high school record.

He gets scouting tool grades of 55 or better across the board with his hit tool, running and arm grading out at 60 by Baseball America.

He also met the other two 1/1 picks in club history and got a picture taken with Ben McDonald and Adley Rutschman today. He knows he will be a marked man as a pro as the No. 1 overall selection.

“It comes with some pressure," Holliday said. "But luckily enough, I’ve got a foundation in my family and I’m just going to handle it like I have everything. Play hard and workout and try to be the best player that I can be.

“I want to be up here (in the majors) as fast as possible. So, I would love to come out hot and continue to play well. So hopefully two years or less would be my goal. That’s a big goal, but I think I can do it.”

One reporter asked him about being a shortstop in an organization where Cal Ripken Jr. once held down that spot.

“It’s an honor to be in this organization and play a premiere position that he played for so long. I hope that I can get here and play shortstop for a really long time,” he said.

He added his enthusiasm about joining an organization with a highly-ranked farm system and a big league club on the rise.

“Very exciting. It’s awesome to get into an organization that is heading in such a great direction and I’m hoping that I can get here fast and contribute in a good way. So, I’m very excited to get in, start playing and meet all these guys,” said Holliday.

Vavra ready to go: Another young O’s prospect arrived in Birdland yesterday. Infielder Terrin Vavra, who also plays some outfield and is ranked as the club’s No. 12 prospect by both Baseball America and MLBPipeline.com, has settled into the O’s clubhouse. It’s his first big league call-up and now he awaits his MLB debut.

In 45 games at Triple-A, Vavra was batting .324/.435/.451/.886 with 14 doubles, a triple, two homers, five steals and 18 RBIs. He’s a career .305/.410/.468/.878 batter in 244 career minor league games.

“I think still going to be learning each day for a long time. I had an injury (hamstring) earlier this year and that was frustrating but there are some great guys in this organization that kept me motivated," he said. 

Vavra was acquired by the Orioles with Tyler Nevin and a player to be named later from Colorado on Aug. 30, 2020. The PTNL became current low-A Delmarva outfielder Mishael Deson.

Vavra is from a baseball family and his father Joe was a major league coach for several years with both the Twins and Tigers. Vavra has two brothers, retired now, but they played in the minors. It had to be fun making those calls to tell his family another Vavra was headed for the majors.

“They were excited. It was kind of mild (reaction) at first and then when I realized I was gonna get activated it was super exciting. I’m very fortunate that they were able to get out here and my wife (Carlie) who is 35 weeks pregnant got the go ahead from her doctor and so she is here as well. She has been at home with the doctors and not able to be with me this season, so to have not only my immediate family but my wife and soon to be baby here is pretty cool," he said. 

 

 

Matt Holliday happy to pass the baseball baton to ...
Orioles and Rays lineups
 

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