Source confirms Jackson Holliday's promotion to majors

BOSTON – The Orioles couldn’t wait any longer.

An industry source has confirmed that infielder Jackson Holliday, baseball’s No.1 prospect, is joining the team in Boston.

The offense pounded out 13 hits in a 7-1 win this afternoon, awakening from its slumber, but Holliday is on his way to provide another jolt.

Holliday was an unpopular cut in spring training after batting .311/.354/.600 in 15 games, with three doubles, two triples and two home runs, including a grand slam. He also struck out 15 times and walked only three.

Reasons ran out to keep Holliday down. He doubled tonight against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre southpaw Edgar Barclay at 105.9 mph off the bat and is hitting .333 with a 1.077 OPS in 10 games. He's walked 12 times and struck out eight. He also made a splendid sliding stop and throw tonight at second base.

Holliday's first at-bat this season resulted in a left-on-left home run, as if he was making a statement.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias pointed to Holliday’s switch to second base and limited exposure to left-handed pitching as prime reasons for the reassignment to minor league camp.

Holliday turned 20 in December and played in only 22 Triple-A games, counting the playoffs. He climbed to four levels of the system. His time was coming but placed on hold.

Now, it’s arrived.

“He is way, way ahead of the curve,” Elias said on March 22. “He’s 20 years old, he just turned 20 a couple months ago. He’s reached Triple-A, he’s moved through the minors at a pace we haven’t seen in a couple of decades, arguably. And when we think about development and completing the development of a player of his talent, and it’s something we have some experience doing – we’ve done it now with Adley (Rutschman) and Gunnar (Henderson), and guys like Jordan Westburg – there’s a lot of considerations involved so that when they do start their major league careers, you want them to be able to stay. And guys of that marquee caliber, you want them to be able to start their careers in full-blown, full-time roles.

“Because of how fast Jackson moved and his lack of professional experience ... he’s not faced a ton of major league-quality or even Triple-A-quality left-handed pitching, and that’s something that’s going to be thrust in his face when he’s in the American League East – whether that’s a starter, whether that’s the reliever they bring in to match up against him in the seventh inning. And on top of that, we’ve got a position change undergoing, and it’s something that we’re fully optimistic about. He’s a quick study, he’s got the tools to play second base, he made strides here in this camp. But I think a plan of having him play in Triple-A and playing second base five, six days in a row to start the season is going to do a lot both for his confidence and ours that that’s ready to go in the American League East and Yankee Stadium in a night game.

“He’s very, very close. He’s very ahead of schedule. He’s done remarkably well. We couldn’t be more excited about his future, but you’re talking about the development of a player who has the opportunity to be one of the better, if not best players in the league, and we’re very professional about how we develop guys. I point to our track record with this group that I mentioned, and we feel that this will be in the long-term best interest of everyone involved to allow him to have a little bit more Triple-A experience for those reasons. And I’m sure he’s going to do well and put in the work as he always does. He's going to keep plying his trade.”

The Orioles signed Tony Kemp before Opening Day to be their left-handed hitting second baseball. He’s gone 0-for-9 and appears vulnerable with Holliday heading to Fenway Park.

The club has moved past a heavy dose of opposing left-handed starters, which also might factor into tonight’s decision.

Holliday is expected to be in Wednesday night’s lineup, which would potentially move Jordan Westburg to more regular duty at third base. Henderson is the everyday shortstop.

Two games remain on the road trip before Holliday, the first-overall selection in the 2022 draft, makes his home debut Friday night against the Brewers. Tickets could be going fast.

The Orioles remain eligible to receive a first-round draft pick, via the Prospect Promotion Incentive, if Holliday is chosen the American League’s Rookie of the Year. They must select his contract and put him on the 40-man roster, which has room for him.

With the most intense promotion watch finally over, the focus shifts to other top prospects with Norfolk – outfielder Heston Kjerstad and infielders Coby Mayo and Connor Norby. Outfielder Kyle Stowers graduated from prospect status but also is crushing the ball at Triple-A.

ESPN first reported Holliday’s promotion.

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