MLB's Spring Breakout series is nice showcase for young talent


The Orioles' Spring Breakout game has come and gone. They lost the seven-inning contest 3-1 on Thursday night in Bradenton to the Pittsburgh Pirates' prospects.

Who expected the O’s pitching prospects to outshine the hitters? But the O’s batters in that game got just one hit in 20 at-bats. And that was a bunt hit by Enrique Bradfield Jr. He blazed his way down the first-base line, showing off his 80-grade speed. Luis Valdez also showed off his speed in stealing two bases, leading to Jud Fabian’s deep sac fly in the Baltimore second.

But Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo, Samuel Basallo and Connor Norby went a combined 0-for-7.

The O’s chose to use just two pitchers, and lefty Cade Povich and right-hander Trace Bright each gave up one earned run. Each fanned four batters, and Bright in particular showed some swing-and-miss secondaries, including a big breaking curveball, to go with a lively fastball that he could elevate at 95 mph.

The game allowed the O’s to show off 15 of their top 30 prospects, seven from their top 10 and three from the top 100, including the No. 1 prospect in the game, Holliday.

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Nats prospects savor first "Spring Breakout" game experience (updated)

Cole Henry spring training

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – T.J. White thought this might as well have been a real major league game. Cole Henry was thrilled when Drew Millas successfully got a ball turned into a strike with a formal challenge. Travis Sykora was so amped up, he couldn’t hold a cup of water without spilling it.

The first “Spring Breakout” game in Nationals history this afternoon was unlike anything these prospects had been a part of before. And though they took a 4-2 loss to the Mets’ top prospects in the seven-inning exhibition, that result didn’t diminish the experience.

Every team in the sport is participating in one of these games this week, in this case as an opening act to tonight’s Grapefruit League contest between the Nationals and Mets. Many of the Nats prospects who played today have been in big league camp all spring, so the experience might not have been unique to them. But for a host of younger kids who have been in minor league camp, this was a big deal.

“To me, it kind of felt like playing a real MLB game,” said White, who drove in both of the Nats’ runs with a pair of two-out RBI hits. “It kind of felt like getting my first big league hit, almost. It was just a surreal experience.”

Davey Martinez, who managed this game and will let bench coach Miguel Cairo handle the nightcap, noticed how amped up some of the players were. He put his hand on Sykora’s chest and said it was “going 1,000 mph.”

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Spring Breakout lineups: Nats vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie

Trey Lipscomb spring training

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. – Hello from Mets camp, where tonight the Nationals and Mets meet in Grapefruit League play. But first, we’ve got a special treat: The “Spring Breakout” game featuring top prospects from both clubs.

Now, to be fair, we’ve already seen the majority of these guys in big league camp this spring. But it’ll still be fun to see them all together at the same time, facing fellow top prospects from a division rival.

The lineup includes Dylan Crews, James Wood, Brady House and Trey Lipscomb. But it also includes Yoyo Morales, Andrew Pinckney and T.J. White, who will get a more prominent look today than they’ve received to date.

It’s only a seven-inning game, and there are a bunch of pitchers who need to appear. So Jackson Rutledge, even though he’s starting, is only going one inning, maybe two tops. We’ll see a lot of other intriguing young arms throughout the afternoon.

Clover Park, Port St. Lucie

Gametime: 3:10 p.m.
TV: (Mets feed)
Weather: Partly cloudy, 84 degrees, wind 11 mph out to left field

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Holliday can't get revenge on Skenes in "Spring Breakout," Bradfield flashes blazing speed (O's lose 3-1)


BRADENTON, Fla. – The much-anticipated and aggressively hyped rematch between Orioles shortstop Jackson Holliday and Pirates ace-to-be Paul Skenes lasted six pitches tonight. Holiday struck out with the count full and Skenes didn’t return for the second inning.

He’ll never be accused of wearing out his welcome. Just the batters who have to face him. And maybe a few catcher’s mitts.

Skenes’ fastball in the Orioles' 3-1 loss was clocked at 100.6, 101.7 and 101.1 mph during the at-bat. He began the game by striking out Enrique Bradfield Jr. on three pitches – at 100.6, 101.1 and 101.7 mph.

Last year’s first-overall draft pick out of LSU put his stamp on the inaugural “Spring Breakout,” retiring the side in order by breaking Connor Norby’s bat – it sure sounded like it, anyway - with a 96.6 mph sinker that produced a ground ball to third baseman Jack Brannigan.

Statcast identified the pitch that fanned Holliday as a 91.6 mph four-seam fastball. That’s wrong. Skenes hasn’t thrown a four-seamer in the low-90s since he was in preschool.

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Orioles lineup for "Spring Breakout," plus more notes


BRADENTON, Fla. – The Orioles announced their lineup for tonight’s “Spring Breakout” game against the Pirates in Bradenton, the second half of a unique doubleheader.

The top two spots are occupied by the last two first-round draft picks – center fielder Enrique Bradfield Jr. and shortstop Jackson Holliday.

Samuel Basallo, who collected his first hit yesterday with a ninth inning single, is batting fifth as the designated hitter. He probably won’t be cleared to catch until late April due to a stress fracture in his right elbow.

Silas Ardoin is catching left-hander Cade Povich.

The first seven spots in the order are occupied by Top 30 prospects. Povich also counts at No. 10 per MLB Pipeline.

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Holliday on Basallo: "He is the real thing"

Samuel Basallo 2024 photo day

This time last year, the Orioles Jackson Holliday and Samuel Basallo – now the club’s top two rated prospects – were a couple of weeks away from reporting to Low-A Delmarva to start the 2023 season.

A year later both have continued to impress and progress as prospects and now they are two of the best in the sport. While Holliday is everyone’s No. 1 prospect, Basallo is ranked No. 10 by Baseball America, No. 17 by and No. 27 by

Two studs to help lead the best farm system in the sport and both could be in the lineup tonight at 7:05 p.m. when the O’s prospects play the Pittsburgh Pirates prospects in Bradenton in the Spring Breakout game that will be televised live by MLB Network.

Basallo played in his first spring game Monday and went 0-for-3 combined Monday and Tuesday. He has a stress fracture in his throwing elbow and is not ready to catch yet but can take at-bats in games as the DH.

If Holliday and Basallo are in the lineup together it will be the first time for that duo since they played for Delmarva late last April, before Holliday was moved to High-A Aberdeen. By the time Basallo later got to Aberdeen, Holliday had moved to Double-A Bowie and by the time Basallo played four games to end his 2023 season at Bowie, Holliday had moved to Triple-A Norfolk.

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Orioles prospects primed for Spring Breakout game, doing a number on Holliday

Jackson Holliday 2024 Spring Training

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles are venturing into a unique part of the exhibition schedule today. Not a split-squad, which has been done twice already and is happening again Sunday and March 23. The first Spring Breakout game will be played tonight in Bradenton as the back end of a doubleheader against the Pirates.

Is it over-hyped. Oh God, yes. And the matchup between Jackson Holliday and Paul Skenes, the last two first-overall draft picks, already played out in Sarasota. We’ve seen it, much to the chagrin, I’m sure, of Major League Baseball.

Holliday grounded out on the second pitch thrown by Skenes, and the right-hander was done after the first inning. You blinked at your own risk.

Skenes is starting again tonight in this battle of top prospects, and Holliday probably is leading off again and expecting to play five innings. They probably will square off at least twice.

“I think any time you get to face somebody, it gives you a better idea of the second time you get to face them. So I’m excited about that,” Holliday said this week on a conference call. “It was awesome. It was a really cool experience to have so many No. 1 picks on the field. I don’t think that happens too often. It’s a really talented group down here in the Sarasota and Bradenton area, and it was a lot of fun.”

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Top prospects headline Nats' Spring Breakout roster

Brady House Trey Lipscomb James Wood spring training

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – The Nationals announced their roster for the first-ever Spring Breakout game next week against the Mets in Port St. Lucie.

It includes 22 of their top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline, including nine of the top 10 and 12 of the top 15:

Jarlin Susana, RHP, No. 10
Travis Sykora, RHP, No. 11
DJ Herz, LHP, No. 12
Jackson Rutledge, RHP, No. 15
Mitchell Parker, LHP, No. 22
Cole Henry, RHP, No. 25
Dustin Saenz, LHP, No. 29
Andrew Alvarez, LHP, NR
Lucas Knowles, LHP, NR
Andry Lara, RHP, NR

Drew Millas, C, No. 20
Israel Pineda, C, No. 26
Maxwell Romero Jr., C, NR

Brady House, 3B, No. 3 (MLB No. 48)
Yohandy Morales, 3B, No. 5
Trey Lipscomb, 3B, No. 16
Kevin Made, SS, No. 23
Darren Baker, 2B, No. 27
T.J. White, INF, No. 30
Armando Cruz, INF, NR

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This week we got a glimpse of what "Spring Breakout" could look like

Jackson Holliday

SARASOTA, Fla. - When Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Paul Skenes, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2023 MLB Draft, faced the Orioles' Jackson Holliday, the No. 1 overall pick in 2022, on Thursday in Sarasota, it was a nice appetizer for a game coming later this month. 

Skenes, the LSU product, retired Holliday on the second pitch of the at-bat. He touched 102 mph during his scoreless inning versus the Orioles on Thursday. He threw 100 against Holliday.

On March 14 in Bradenton, the top O’s prospects will play the top Pirates prospects as part of a new series of games this year called “Spring Breakout.” Each club will have at least one game where it can send out its top prospects to play those from another club. That night we could see Skenes-Holliday part two.

The O’s-Pirates game that night will be the second part of a doubleheader at Bradenton’s LECOM Park that will begin with the regular Grapefruit League game between the O's and Pirates at 3:05 p.m. The prospects-only game will follow at 7:05 p.m., and that game will be televised live on MLB Network.

The roster reveal will be a live TV event, too, and that is happening March 7 at 11 a.m. on MLB Network.

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Here is a chance to see a host of O's prospects on the field together at one time


They will be playing in a game that doesn’t count, and it won’t even be a nine-inning game. But in mid-March at spring training in one game, we will be able to see many, maybe even just about all, of the Orioles' top young prospects on the field at one time.

It is a cool concept called “Spring Breakout,” a four-day event from March 14-17 in which each big league club’s top prospects will play another team's top group as part of a spring training doubleheader. Major League Baseball announced the event on Wednesday afternoon.

The Orioles' prospects will play the Pittsburgh Pirates' prospects on March 14 at Lecom Park in Bradenton, Fla. The schedule lists the clubs playing the major league spring game at 3:05 p.m., with the second part of a doubleheader being the prospects match starting their seven-inning game at 7:05 p.m.

No broadcasts for spring have been announced yet, but MLB Network was promoting a broadcast of the O’s and Pirates on the airwaves on Wednesday when this event was announced.

One of the neat things every year in spring training is seeing the prospects play in major league spring games. Whether they are there for just a short time or for longer, it has to be thrilling for the young players and also cool for the fans to see this young talent taking the field wearing the orange and black and representing the Orioles.

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