O's game blog: Jackson Holliday makes major league debut as O's play Red Sox

It's the Orioles' 11th game of the 2024 season, but for 20-year-old Jackson Holliday, it's his big league debut. Less than two years since the O's selected him No. 1 overall in July 2022, Holliday is in the majors.

He will bat ninth and play second base tonight in Game 2 of this three-game series at Boston.

In 10 Triple-A games for Norfolk, Holliday, baseball's No. 1 ranked prospect, hit .333/.482/.595/1.077 with five doubles, two homers, nine RBIs, 18 runs, 12 walks and eight strikeouts. He went 4-for-10 versus lefty pitching with two doubles and a homer for an OPS of 1.264.

While tonight he will bat ninth, he could eventually move into the leadoff spot for the Orioles. He batted leadoff for the Tides. When the lineup turns over tonight, Holliday, Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman will bat back-to-back-to-back.

Holliday will wear No. 7, not worn by any Oriole since the passing of Cal Ripken Sr. Bill Ripken and Mark Belander also wore No. 7. On MLB Network today, Bill Ripken said the Holliday family asked "very respectfully" if the Ripken family would be fine with Jackson wearing No. 7, as their dad once did and Holliday's dad, Matt, did in the majors. Ripken said they loved the idea.

Cal Ripken tweeted today: "Our family is thrilled that Jackson Holliday will be wearing dad's No. 7. Excited to watch him play!"

Some other recent O's debuts:

* On May 21, 2022, Adley Rutschman went 1-for-3 with a triple and walk as the Rays beat the Orioles in Baltimore 6-1.

* On Aug. 31, 2022, Gunnar Henderson homered at Cleveland in his second at-bat, blasting a 429-foot solo shot as the O's won 4-0. He went 2-for-4.

* On June 26, 2023, Jordan Westburg went 1-for-4 with a run, single, RBI and walk as the O's at home beat the Reds 10-3.

* On July 5, 2023, Colton Cowser went 1-for-3 with an RBI, single and walk as the Orioles won 6-3 at Yankee Stadium. 

Holliday told reporters in Boston, including MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko, his brief time at Triple-A helped him: "Yeah. I think getting at-bats. I got of lot of at-bats because we scored a lot of runs, so able to get pretty comfortable. I feel like my swing's in a good spot."

Holliday's arrival date, which frustrated some fans, was still very fast. By comparison, he got 147 plate appearances at Triple-A producing an OPS of .899 while Henderson had 295 with an OPS of .894. And Rutschman had 238 with an OPS of .879. Jordan Westburg got 714 plate appearances at Triple-A before he made his way to Baltimore.

Per the Orioles, at 20 years, 128 days, Holliday will be the youngest player to make his debut for the O's since Dylan Bundy (19-313) on Sept. 23, 2012 at Boston and the youngest position player since Manny Machado (20-034) on Aug. 9, 2012 vs. Kansas City. He will become the first high school player from the 2022 MLB Draft to appear in a big league game and the ninth overall from that draft class to debut.

When Holliday (2022) and Rutschman (2019) appear in the same game, it will be the third time this season a major league team has had two No. 1 overall picks play in a game together, joining Detroit's Casey Mize (2018) and Spencer Torkelson (2020) and Minnesota's Carlos Correa (HOU, 2012) and Royce Lewis (2017), per the Elias Sports Bureau.

The last two times multiple No. 1 position players played in the same game for the organization that drafted them was Tampa Bay's Tim Beckham (2008) and Delmon Young (2003) in 2013, and Seattle's Alex Rodriguez (1993) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1987) from 1994-99. The Orioles have had multiple No. 1 overall picks appear in a game for them twice - Harold Baines (CWS, 1977) and B.J. Surhoff (MIL, 1985) from 1997-2000 and Ben McDonald (1989) and Baines from 1993-95.

The Orioles (6-4) are in third place in the American League East, three games behind the 10-2 Yankees and a 1/2 game back of the 7-4 Red Sox.

Yesterday, Colton Cowser became the youngest Oriole (24 years, 20 days) with two doubles and four RBIs since Cal Ripken Jr. (23-010) on Sept. 3, 1983 at Minnesota.

O's pitchers have posted a 0.97 WHIP through the first 10 games, the best mark in the majors. And the Birds' 2.67 team ERA ranks as the fifth-best mark in the majors. Baltimore pitchers also rank fifth in the majors in rotation ERA (3.02) and fifth in bullpen ERA (2.01).

On the mound tonight, lefty Cole Irvin (0-1, 7.20 ERA) faces right-hander Kutter Crawford (1-1, 0.84 ERA), who has allowed just one earned run and five hits over 10 2/3 innings. 

Enjoy the game and later tonight, about 30 minutes after the last out, I will host a postgame show on WBAL Radio, also heard in Baltimore on FM 101.5 and on the WBAL Radio website and app.

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