At around this time last year, the Orioles Gunnar Henderson was named Baseball America's 2022 Minor League Player of the Year. Now the Orioles have two players in a row so honored.
As his remarkable first full season on the farm is winding down, today shortstop Jackson Holliday of the Orioles was named the 2023 winner by Baseball America.
This is the third time since the award started in 1981, that one organization had a winner two years in a row, but the first time it was two different players. The New York Mets' Gregg Jefferies won in 1986-87 and Andruw Jones of Atlanta in 1995-96. Now Henderson and Holliday go back-to-back for the Orioles.
Holliday's season has seen him progress four levels, starting the year with Low Single-A Delmarva, moving to High-A Aberdeen and then on to Double-A Bowie and now he is with Triple-A Norfolk.
His regular season ended yesterday with Norfolk, but the Tides will host Durham beginning Tuesday night in the International League's best-of-three championship series. The IL winner will meet the Pacific Coast League champs this Saturday in the Triple-A championship game.
Holliday, currently the consensus No. 1 ranked prospect in sport, has played in 125 games this year between the Shorebirds, IronBirds, Baysox and Tides. He has hit .323/.442/.499/.941 with 30 doubles, nine triples, 12 homers, 24 steals, 154 hits, 113 runs and 75 RBIs.
He leads all of minor league baseball in runs, is fifth in on-base percentage and ranks 11th in hits.
In 14 games back in April with Delmarva he hit .396 with an OPS of 1.182. Over 57 games with Aberdeen those numbers were .314/.940. He then hit .338 with an OPS of .928 in 36 games with Bowie and has batted .267 with an OPS of .796 for Norfolk.
He was hitting just .152 (5-for-33) after his first seven games with Norfolk. But over his last 11 Triple-A games, he has hit .357 (15-for-42) with two doubles, two homers, 10 runs and seven RBIs.
Besides Holliday and Henderson, Matt Wieters in 2008 was the only other Oriole to be named BA Player of the Year.
Holliday was selected the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft and this is his first full pro season. And what a year it has been for a player rising to both Double-A and Triple-A at age 19. At mid-season he and Heston Kjerstad represented the Orioles in the All-Star Futures Game.
He has put himself in position to make the Orioles' roster in 2024, maybe as soon as Opening Day.
Holliday today has become the fourth player to win both Baseball America's High School Player of the Year award and MiLB Player of the Year, joining catcher Joe Mauer, outfielder Byron Buxton and shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.