O’s Mike Elias on Holliday’s early struggles, Hays, Means and more

Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias seems unconcerned that top prospect Jackson Holliday is still looking for his first big league hit after his first three games.

Baseball’s No. 1 ranked prospect is 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts after going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Friday night. Holliday did not start today against Brewers' lefty and former Oriole DL Hall.

Milwaukee won this afternoon 11-5 and the Orioles (8-6) need a win Sunday to avoid being swept. 

Elias, in an interview with reporters today in the Orioles dugout before the game, said Holliday’s first couple of series in Triple-A this year were “reassuring is the word I would use, those of us that were leaning toward adding him Opening Day with the thought he was ready.”

He was not on the Opening Day roster, but Holliday, 20, is here now and searching for hit No. 1.

“Zero surprise for me,” said Elias. “Just our Orioles prospects, it seems like every one of them has gone through a pretty good struggle, the major prospects we’ve brought up the past few years, in their first taste of the majors.

“I think that jump, it’s really thrilling for us to have so many good prospects doing well at Triple-A. But you are always reminded how much more difficult the big leagues are and how hard it is to pass players that are playing pretty well in major league baseball. It’s not as easy thing to do as a minor leaguer.”

So how much will Holliday play versus lefty pitching?

“Very few players play every single day, especially a 20-year-old getting his feet wet,” he said. “I don’t want to speak for Brandon (Hyde) but I think today is an example of - it’s a good day to give him a rest day. It’s been a whirlwind for him for three days. Probably has not slept a lot. Played like 12 or 13 minor league games in a row leading up to the promotion.

“You know, we’ll probably utilize some of these lefty days strategically to get him or even other guys off their feet. It is something we look at. It’s probably going to be one of the last things to come for him. Taking on major league quality left-handed pitching is something that is hard to prepare for in the minor leagues. It took a little time for Gunnar Henderson, so we’re going to keep an eye on that, and it will come.”

Elias was asked about the timing of the decisions, both to not have Holliday on the Opening Day roster and then to bring him when the club did. He could still get a full year of MLB service time.

“I think a big part of my job is taking criticism and wearing stuff. I can’t sit here and say everything that is on my mind. I also don’t have a crystal ball and I don’t make every decision perfectly by a long shot.

“We’ve been criticized for some of our high draft picks, but you just do what you think is right. We have a process that has served us well. We’re not arrogant about it. We constantly refine it, but we do try to stick with it and adhere to it. And it led us to the plan on sending him to Triple-A and kind of assessing circumstances on a week-by-week basis there and now we called him up.

“I think it’s a nice boost for the team for him to be up. Just team chemistry and to have another young prospect coming up is exciting for everybody. It’s exciting for the fans, for the team."

Elias on a few other topics:

* Lefty John Means has pitched three times for Triple-A Norfolk on his rehab assignment, allowing 10 runs over seven innings. He is progressing well on a return to the Orioles. He will pitch again for the Tides in the middle of next week.

“Suffice it to say we’re looking at a spring-time activation with him hopefully. You know it’s this month or next kind of thing is how things are trending. I don’t think it will be too deep into May if it does go into May.”

* The O’s have other prospects who have gotten off to very strong starts for Norfolk as Heston Kjerstad, Coby Mayo and Kyle Stowers all have an OPS over 1.000 right now and Connor Norby is at .949.

“Really proud of those guys and excited about them,” Elias said.

“Couple of them are on the younger side, still learning some things on defense, still really ahead of the curve for their age group. Another couple of guys that have poked their heads up into the major leagues already and are really doing everything asked of them at Triple-A. So, once that happens, we start to do everything we can to accommodate players and look for opportunities for them.

“Baseball tends to take care of itself a little bit, with injuries and just different matchups popping up. I’m sure their time is coming. We’re not going to sit there and watch players dominate a level for too long. It’s not our style. So, we’re definitely keeping an eye on all those guys down there. I guarantee you every single one of those plus many more players from Norfolk are going to come up and help this team.”

* Outfielder Austin Hays began today at 2-for-32 to start the year, batting .063 and had no hits in his previous 25 at-bats. He went 1-for-3 with a third-inning single.

“He’s going to be fine,” said Elias. “One of the luxuries we have with our roster, is we have a lot of good players. I think that is what we saw the last few days. He’s hit some balls hard, they haven’t fallen. He’s going to be fine.

“All 13 of the position players that we have right now are starting-caliber guys. It’s not easy for our manager but it’s something that we value. He’s going to rotate through guys based on matchups, health, day-to-day, little bit of hot and cold in there. This is all going to work itself out. We’re going to look up and everyone is going to play a lot of Austin Hays is going to have another good season too."

The Orioles have been outscored 22-6 in the first two games of this series. They have not been swept in 95 straight regular-season series since May 13-15, 2022 at Detroit. 

Adams delivering behind plate with Ruiz sidelined ...
Gore finds peak form with 11 strikeouts in Nats' w...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/