O's game blog: O's shoot for a three-game sweep at Texas

kyle bradish black

Today in the finale of a series and road trip, the Orioles are going for a three-game sweep. They have swept just one three-game series all year, and that was against Texas. They can get their second versus the same team today. In the early stages of their 10-game win streak the Orioles swept three one-run games at home versus the Rangers July 4-6.

After winning by 7-2 and 8-2 scores the last two nights, the Orioles can complete a sweep today in Arlington. The Orioles have one four-game sweep this season, and that was July 7-10 against the Los Angeles Angels, and it too came during the win streak.

The Orioles (53-51) are 3-2 on the two-city road trip that ends today and 24-31 in road games for the season. They are 7-4 the last 11 road games.

As play begins in Major League Baseball today, the Tampa Bay Rays (54-49) hold the third American League wild-card spot by one game over Cleveland (53-50) and by 1 ½ games over the Orioles, with Boston and Chicago two games back. So that is five teams separated by just two games battling for one spot. But Seattle is just one game ahead of Tampa Bay, so you could also reflect that as six teams going for two spots.

Over the last 40 games the Orioles have gone 26-14 since mid-June. In that span, their team ERA is 3.11 and in that span they have allowed two earned runs or fewer 20 times, going 19-1. They have allowed two runs in each of the first two games of this series.

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O's game blog: Jordan Lyles faces Texas as series continues

lyles pitch home orange

After taking the field last night hours after the club traded Trey Mancini, the Orioles will take the field tonight after the club traded closer Jorge López this afternoon to the Minnesota Twins for four minor league pitchers. Tonight they play the second game of a three-game series at Texas.

The Orioles (52-51) beat the Rangers 7-2 last night in the series opener. Cedric Mullins hit a homer on the game’s third pitch – his third leadoff homer of the year. It was his 14th career leadoff home run, the second-most in Orioles history behind Brady Anderson's 44.

The Orioles took a 4-0 lead in the second inning and never trailed in moving over the .500 mark. They matched last year’s win total when they went 52-110.

The Orioles had scored just 10 runs in three games in Cincinnati, and just four runs in losing the last two games at Great American Ball Park and producing just one extra-base hit in those contests.

Catcher Adley Rutschman went 3-for-4 with a walk, two doubles and an RBI Monday night for his second career three-hit game. He reached base a career-high four times. Rutschman is batting .421 (16-for-38) over his past 12 games. Last night was his 13th multi-hit game.

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A look at the pitchers the Orioles got in the Jorge López deal

yennier cano twins

In a move designed to obtain future talent for a current All-Star closer, the Orioles today traded right-hander Jorge López to the Minnesota Twins for a package of four pitchers. And yes, they made this move while they are just 2 1/2 games out of the last American League playoff spot.

Here is a bit more on the four players they got from the Twins for López, a player the Orioles acquired via waivers from the Kansas City Royals on Aug. 9, 2020. This season he has recorded 19 saves with a 1.68 ERA.

The O's added left-hander Cade Povich, a third-round pick out of Nebraska in 2021 (No. 98 overall) who has pitched this year at high Single-A Cedar Rapids. He is 6-8 with a 4.46 ERA. In 78 2/3 innings, he has allowed 71 hits and nine homers with 26 walks and 107 strikeouts and a 1.23 WHIP. He has a 2.97 walk rate and 12.24 strikeout rate.

One scout I spoke with said his fastball averages in the 92 mph range but has touched 96 this season. He also throws a curveball in the high 70s, slider in the 80-81 range and a firm changeup around 84 mph. The scout liked his slider as his best secondary and described him as “polished, college lefty.” He throws a lot of strikes, especially with his fastball and slider, and mixes in the other pitches as chase and putaway offerings.

MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com's Jim Callis discussed Povich on MLB Network.

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O's game blog: The series opener at Texas

watkins fires gray @CHC

It got active in Birdland this afternoon with the news of Trey Mancini’s trade to the Houston Astros. But as nightfall arrives, there is a game to play and the Orioles are at Texas tonight to begin a three-game series as their road trip continues.

The Orioles (51-51) lost the last two games at Cincinnati after winning there 6-2 on Friday night. But on Saturday and Sunday their offense produced just four runs on 12 hits and just one extra-base hit. That was Anthony Santander’s homer in the eighth inning yesterday that briefly produced a 2-2 tie with the Reds. But when Brandon Drury homered in the last of the eighth, the Reds took a 3-2 lead, and three outs later had a win by that margin.

The Orioles fell to 22-31 on the road. They ended July going 16-9 with a plus-19 run differential. They fell to 7-8 in rubber-match games.

A win by the Orioles tonight and they would match the win total of last year’s club that went 52-110.

Even with back-to-back losses, the Orioles have won four of seven and 16 of their past 23 games. They have won 21 of 33 and 27 of 43.

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O's allow three homers as Cincinnati wins big to even series (updated)


CINCINNATI – After getting his 2022 big league season off to a great start, O’s right-hander Dean Kremer has hit a bump in the road. And tonight, his road got really rocky in the last of the fourth.

Leadoff hitter Jonathan India smoked a two-run homer just over the left field wall to highlight a three-run Reds fourth and they went on to beat the Orioles 8-2 at Great American Ball Park. That evens this series at a win each heading into Sunday’s rubber match game.

The Orioles led 2-0 in the first and 2-1 when the Reds came up in the fourth. Then Cincinnati batters started to produce some loud contact off Kremer, who had allowed four hits through three. With one out, Nick Senzel doubled to left, a two-bagger that was 101 mph off the bat. Then right fielder Jake Fraley dumped a single into left for a 2-2 tie. One out later, India’s seventh homer made it a 4-2 lead. He hit a 1-2 pitch, a 93 mph four-seamer, 366 feet and it just got out. Brandon Drury’s 108 mph double followed, but he was stranded when Tommy Pham grounded out.

The loud contact continued in the Reds fifth when Joey Votto led off with his 10th homer (exit velocity of 108 mph) and it became a 5-2 game. After a one-out single, Kremer was lifted.

Then it got weird.

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O's game blog: Looking for another win in Cincinnati

Dean Kremer throw orange spring away

CINCINNATI – Tonight, in the second game of this series, the Orioles look for their fifth win in six games, and to move three games over the .500 mark as they play at Cincinnati. The Orioles scored four runs in the ninth last night to break a 2-2 tie and beat the Reds 6-2 in the opener of a three-game series and six-game road trip.

Cedric Mullins’ two-run single to center gave the Orioles a 4-2 lead and Trey Mancini’s RBI single that bounced off the second-base bag made it 5-2. Struggling Ryan Mountcastle came through with a sac fly for the 6-2 margin. Jorge López then pitched a 1-2-3 last of the ninth to cap a night of four scoreless innings from the Baltimore bullpen.

The Orioles bullpen has allowed just one earned run in 22 2/3 innings over the past five games. Here are the best bullpen ERAs in the big leagues:

2.72 – Houston
2.89 – New York Yankees
2.99 – Orioles
3.02 – Detroit

The Orioles have had some nice late-inning comebacks and wins this season, and last night was the latest example. With the victory Friday, the Orioles are now at a zero run differential for the season. They have both allowed and scored 421 runs.

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Hyde updating Tyler Wells and notes on Mountcastle and Vavra


CINCINNATI – Ryan Mountcastle, who went 0-for-4 with a sac fly in the ninth inning Friday night, is not in tonight’s starting lineup for the Orioles, getting a rest day. At least to start. But manager Brandon Hyde hinted during his pregame media session that there could be something else contributing to Mountcastle’s absence from tonight’s lineup.

“He’s banged up,” said Hyde. “We’re getting to that point now where, he’s got lot of at-bats, lot of games under these guys’ belts, and he’s pretty banged up. Just want to give him a day and hopefully he’s available off the bench today.”

When asked whether Mountcastle is just dealing with “bumps and bruises” or anything more significant, Hyde said “bumps and bruises.”

Mountcastle has just two hits his last 31 at-bats over his past eight games. He has not homered his last 19 games. In 22 games this month he is batting .191/.231/.298/.528. and that is after he posted a robust OPS of .959 in June.

Hyde also today had an update on right-hander Tyler Wells, who went on the injured list after his last start, Wednesday against the Rays, when he gave up four runs over 4 1/3 innings.

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Trey Mancini's teammates on the player, person, trade buzz and that homer

mancini slides on itp hr white

Not every day at the ballpark is eventful, and not every day is created equal. Yesterday, for instance. It was a special day to be at Camden Yards, especially in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Needing a win to go over .500, take three of four from the Tampa Bay Rays and go 5-5 in a 10-game stretch versus the Yankees and Rays, the Orioles got one. A 3-0 shutout over the Rays to get to 50-49. Game No. 100 comes tonight in Cincinnati and the Orioles will be, at worst, a .500 team contending for a playoff spot.

But when Trey Mancini lifted a fly ball to right field with Austin Hays on second with one out in the O's eighth, it looked like what could be his last at-bat at home as an Oriole would go down F9 in the scorebook. But right fielder Josh Lowe lost the ball in the sun, it hit him in the face and Mancini circled the bases, beating the relay home for a thrilling two-run, inside-the-park homer.

Just when the O’s needed a big hit, they got one. From Mancini. On Mo Gaba Day. On the anniversary of the day Mancini lost his dear friend two years ago. On the day he caught the ceremonial first pitch from Mo’s mom, Sonsy, on Mo Gaba Day at the ballpark.

It was an amazing Mo-ment.

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O's game blog: The homestand finale

mateo pumped on hr white

The Orioles' four-game series with Tampa Bay and seven-game homestand conclude today with an early afternoon game versus the Rays.

The Orioles won the first two games of this series by 5-1 and 5-3 scores, and the Rays won 6-4 in 10 innings last night on Randy Arozarena's two-run double in the 10th. 

Tampa Bay (53-45) ended a four-game losing streak and improved to 24-19 versus American League East teams and to 22-27 in road games. The Rays are now 8-6 in extra innings. This season, 55.1 percent (54-of-98) of Tampa Bay’s games have been decided by two runs or fewer, and they are 27-27 in such games. 

The Orioles (49-49) begin play today in fourth in the AL East, 1/2 game ahead of Boston (49-50). The Rays now hold the third wild card spot in the American League and lead Cleveland by 2 1/2 games for that spot, with the Orioles and Chicago White Sox four games back and Boston 4 1/2 out.

The Orioles fell to 7-4 in extra innings and to 3-1 versus the Rays this year in extra-inning games after Wednesday's loss.

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More with Boras, Guthrie and Rutschman on Jackson Holliday


You would certainly assume that if Jackson Holliday ever seeks out Adley Rutschman for advice on being the No. 1 overall draft pick, Rutschman will be there to answer any questions he has.

But when he was asked yesterday if he has any advice now for Holliday, you had to figure Rutschman was not going to dispense any just yet. At least not through the media.

“I’m sure he has gotten a lot of advice,” said Rutschman, the Orioles' choice for the top overall pick of 2019, before Wednesday’s game. “He has good mentors around him, so I’m sure they’ve been telling him all he needs to hear. For me, it was just trying to compartmentalize things and not let anything get too much to where I wasn’t enjoying the moment.”

Super agent Scott Boras, who reps the younger Holliday, was also at Wednesday’s introductory press conference, where the O’s presented their latest top draft selection and third 1/1 pick in club history.

Boras said having a father (Matt) who played so long and so well in the majors and a strong family unit is going to serve Jackson Holliday well now as he embarks on his pro career. He is leaving today for Florida and eventually will be playing in games in the Rookie-level Florida Complex League.

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Two O's vets weigh in on importance of two straight winning months

mancini greets mateo white

The Orioles have not been in the playoffs since the 2016 season and that was the last year they had two straight winning months. That is, until now.

When the Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-1 on Monday night, they improved to 13-6 in July with six games to play in the month at that point. And following up on June, when they had a 14-12 record, it meant they had back-to-back winning months. Something that had not happened in Birdland since May (14-13) and June (19-9) of 2016.

Two veteran Orioles believe that was very important to this rebuilding, improving club as it takes its next steps back toward contending baseball.

“It’s very significant,” Trey Mancini said. “Especially since August of 2017 was the last time we had a winning month, it certainly has some significance. Like we keep saying, though, it’s not the end-all to have a couple of good months, but it is a very nice step and things are moving in the right direction.

“Being in a playoff conversation this time of year is very exciting, given how the last few years have gone. Something to be really proud of, and I’m very proud of this team. I believe in this team enough to not get too ahead of ourselves or too satisfied. We’re still going to come out every day and play hard and do what we’ve been doing. We know that is what you have to do to be where you want to be at the end of the year.”

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McKenna growing his role as key reserve and dugout booster for O's

Ryan McKenna swing white back

Orioles outfielder Ryan McKenna maybe at one time didn’t envision his big league role as it has become. He’s a reserve on this team, but he has grown his role to become something of a super sub while at the same time getting constant praise from manager Brandon Hyde for the spirit and energy he brings to the dugout when he is not playing.

McKenna said the cheering for his teammates comes about simply because he wants the team to do well and he wants the teammates he likes so much to do the same. But he is also very focused while on the bench, maybe in the way a manager might be. Hanging on every pitch and trying to note things that could help him later in the game if he does get in.

“I think staying diligent mentally, honestly, is one of the biggest things I’ve focused on,” McKenna said before Monday’s game. “An open communication channel with the hitting coaches has been good. And also, by being in on every pitch when I am not playing – understanding and learning other pitchers and how they are attacking guys, you know, maybe trying to predict what pitches will come or why we are moving guys in the outfield the way we are – just being a student of the game is one of the biggest things.

“I think it is just an emphasis I have put on myself to be disciplined and into the game. Whether it’s a day game or night, 98 degrees, extra innings, or whatever, that is what I try to do.”

McKenna certainly brings a lot on defense and with his speed. But his OPS, which was .559 with a .183 batting average in 90 games last year is now .662 with an average of .255 in 64 games. His OPS plus of 88 is just 12 percent below league average.

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Jordan Lyles with some props for the 'pen

Cionel Perez throwing orange road

The Orioles bullpen, by just about any standard, is having a great year. It’s been one of the best in the majors this season, dramatically improved over the past and a big reason this club is around .500 this late in the year.

The O's bullpen ERA in 2021 was 5.70 to rank last in the majors. Through Sunday's game, the O's ERA in the bullpen is 3.14 to rank fourth.

“It’s been fun to watch,” O’s starter Jordan Lyles said Sunday morning. “I know there were probably a lot of questions coming out of spring training. We had that spring trade where we dealt two relievers (Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser). But guys have just stepped up, and done more than step up. We have one of the best bullpens in baseball and it’s fun to hand the ball over to them every fifth day.”

It is a bullpen that is probably not getting enough credit nationally for the O’s improved play. The team as a whole is getting props, but it seems some are slow to notice that a ‘pen filled with waiver claims is featuring some real gas throwers and getting a lot of outs. And has been all year.

Lyles said all that velocity is important but those pitchers have more than just gas to get outs.

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O's game blog: Orioles look to bounce back against the Yankees

jordan lyles throwing orange

Now one game under the .500 mark and 4 ½ games out of the final American League playoff spot, the Orioles (46-47) continue their series with the New York Yankees tonight at Camden Yards. It’s the second game of the weekend series and second of a seven-game homestand.

New York’s Aaron Judge hit two homers, driving in four runs Friday night in the Yankees’ 7-6 win. Judge has eight homers in 13 games this season versus Baltimore pitching. He helped the Yankees move out to a 7-3 lead in the seventh inning before Anthony Santander’s three-run blast in the last of the seventh pulled the O’s within one run. It was No. 16 for Santander and his sixth this season against the Yankees. Santander connected on a 1-1 slider and drove the ball 424 feet. He ended a 13-game homerless streak.

With Friday’s loss the O’s are 4-10 against New York (3-5 at home) and 16-22 versus the AL East on the season. The Orioles are 5-5 their past 10 games within the division and 12-11 in their last 23 AL East games.

Baltimore’s eight-game home win streak ended in the loss, and they are 25-18 at home for the year. They are 12-4 in their last 16 at home.

The Orioles are now 1-3 since the end of their 10-game win streak. And the three losses in this stretch, to Tampa Bay and New York, have come by four total runs, twice by one run. Baltimore pitchers have allowed 23 runs in this four-game stretch after allowing 30 total runs during the long win streak.

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O's draft picks Dylan Beavers and Jud Fabian talk about joining the Orioles


University of California outfielder Dylan Beavers was an Orioles draft pick, No. 33 overall, last Sunday night. And now, just days later, he has signed his first pro contract and was at Camden Yards today to get a look around. He took time to talk with Baltimore reporters.

He said he didn’t have a lot of interaction with the O’s leading up to the draft. It was a nervous time, but then he heard his name called with the club’s Competitive Balance Round A selection.

“It was a little bit stressful, but I knew it would be a great time and I was super excited when I finally got picked," Beavers said. "I was definitely just ready to get my name called. It happened, and it was Baltimore and you know it made it that much better.”

Beavers, age 20 from Paso Robles, Calif., began his career as a freshman as a two-way player, also a pitcher who could touch 92 and 93 mph on the mound. But he quickly became a full-time position player. This season, as a fourth-year junior, the lefty-hitting right fielder batted .291/.426/.634 with 16 doubles, three triples, 17 homers, 62 runs and 50 RBIs. He hit 18 homers in 2021 and 36 for his Cal career.

He indicated that generating good bat speed gets him to his power.

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O's game blog: O's host Yankees to begin seven-game homestand

wells throws home black

With 92 games down and 70 still to go, the Orioles begin their post-All-Star-break schedule tonight hosting the New York Yankees to start a three-game series and seven-game homestand.

The Orioles (46-46) ended the pre-All-Star-break portion of the schedule losing two of three at Tampa Bay in a series that ended Sunday. Their loss a week ago tonight ended a 10-game win streak. But the Orioles have won 11 of 13 games and are 16-7 in the last 23 and 22-11 over their past 33 games.

The O's 46 wins to this point were the most they've had before an All-Star break since they went 51-36 in the first half in 2016. They have 39 home games remaining and 31 road games. The Orioles are .500 or better this late in a season for the first time since entering play 71-71 on Sept. 10, 2017. The last time the Orioles had at least 46 wins through their first 92 games of a season was 2016, when they went 53-39.

Best win percentage in MLB since June 11

.727 – Los Angeles Dodgers (24-9)
.714 – Houston (25-10) and Seattle (25-10)
.686 – Atlanta (24-11)
.667 – Orioles (22-11)

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He's rolling at Norfolk and Jordan Westburg moves into top 100 lists


He started the 2021 season with low Single-A Delmarva, but ended it with Double-A Bowie. And now, as the 2022 season heads into the second half, O’s infield prospect Jordan Westburg has moved into the back end of top 100 lists. And, with his strong play at Triple-A Norfolk, has put himself in position for a call to the majors whenever the big club is ready to make the move.

He excelled in the Southeastern Conference at Mississippi State before the O’s selected him No. 30 overall in the 2020 draft. Tides teammate Gunnar Henderson outshines him at times, but Westburg’s Triple-A numbers actually exceed those of Henderson, who is now a national top 10 prospect.

For the year, over 79 games, Westburg is batting .272/.342/.513/.855 with 25 doubles, two triples, 16 homers and 60 RBIs. His bat, like Henderson’s, has cooled a bit this month. But in 32 Triple-A games he is batting .304/.338/.565/.903 with seven homers and 28 RBIs. With Norfolk, only Henderson has hit .270/.393/.496/.889 with five homers and 19 RBIs.

Among O’s regulars on their farm, Westburg leads all in doubles, homers and RBIs, ranks third in slugging and fifth in OPS.

Tides manager Buck Britton has seen what other skippers on the O’s farm saw last year and earlier this year. Henderson and Westburg have a close relationship and like to push each other and help each other. They have played together at Delmarva, Aberdeen and Bowie and now, as of their promotions this year on June 6, at Norfolk.

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O's select Oklahoma State pitcher as draft resumes with round three (updated)

camden yards

The Orioles began the second day of the draft and selected Oklahoma State pitcher Nolan McLean. He becomes the highest pitcher selected by the club under Mike Elias. The previous highest had been in the fifth rounds in 2020 with Carter Baumler and 2021 with Carlos Tavera.

McLean, who also was a position player as an infielder for Oklahoma State, went 2-1 with a 4.97 ERA and five saves out of the bullpen. In 25 1/3 innings he allowed 20 hits with 13 walks, 39 strikeouts and a .206 batting average against. In 64 games as a hitter he batted .285/.397/.595 with 16 doubles, 19 homers and 47 RBIs. 

He is a right-handed hitter and thrower and was a draft-eligible sophomore. MLB.com rated him No. 115 in this draft class.

The Orioles are making selections today through round 10, and they have eight picks over the eight rounds through the 10th. The slot amount for the third-rounder at No. 81 is $793,600 of a total O’s draft pool of $16.924 million. The slot amount for their No. 1 pick is $8,842,200, and it is $2,313,900 for their second selection, No. 33 overall.

In Round 4: The O’s drafted University of Texas catcher Silas Ardoin, a redshirt sophomore. In 69 games for the Longhorns he batted .271/.391/.513 with 20 doubles, a triple, 12 homers and 50 RBIs. He walked 39 times and fanned 54.

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A look at the O's four picks on first day of MLB Draft

draft platform 2022

When the Orioles made their third No. 1 overall MLB Draft pick in team history on Sunday night, the pick was a popular one with a couple of the MLB Network analysts. They reacted quite favorably on the telecast when the O’s selected high school shortstop Jackson Holliday from Stillwater, Okla.

The son of long-time big league outfielder Matt Holliday, Jackson was Baseball America’s national High School Player of the Year. Holliday, who gets 60 grades from scouts for his hit tool, running and arm, is age 18 and hit .685/.749/1.392 (89-for-130) with 29 doubles, six triples, 17 home runs, 74 runs scored, 79 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 40 games during his senior season. His 89 hits set a national high school record.

He follows Ben McDonald in 1989 and Adley Rutschman in 2019 as O’s 1/1 picks and is the first high school position player the team made its top draft pick since Manny Machado in 2010.

The slot amount to sign Holliday is listed at $8,842,200.

“They didn’t cut a deal here,” said Jim Callis of MLBPipeline.com on the MLB Network draft telecast. “They took one of the best players. I think Jackson Holliday is probably the best combination of hitting ability and ceiling in this draft. He plays on the infield, Druw Jones (drafted second) is an outfielder, there is defensive value here. I like Harold's (Reynolds) Bobby Witt Jr. parallel. He is a five-tool shortstop. I can’t think of too many players - and Jackson Holliday is one - that got better in every phase of the game (this season). Better hitter, stronger, faster, better arm, better shortstop as a senior. He was a good player coming in and he’s a great player now. I love this pick for the Orioles.”

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He's No. 1/1: Jackson Holliday on being drafted by the Orioles


For the third time in club history tonight the Orioles had the overall No. 1 selection in the MLB Draft. And after taking Ben McDonald in 1989 and Adley Rutschman 30 years later, the O’s went into the high school ranks tonight to select shortstop Jackson Holliday from Stillwater (Okla.) High School.

He is the first high school player the O’s selected with their top pick since pitcher Grayson Rodriguez in 2018, and first high school position player they spent their top pick on since Manny Machado was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 draft.

As it turns out, Holliday, 18, found out he would be an Oriole about the same time the rest of us did.

“I kind of found out as they were saying it,” he told O’s reporters on a team Zoom call. “That was kind of cool. My dad didn’t really tell me. He was on the phone and then he’s like ‘All right, just going to find out.’ That was very, very neat and something I’ll never forget. I didn’t know it was a possibility, to be honest, going into the high school season. I just wanted to help my team and hopefully put myself into a good position heading into today.”

Holliday said his dad, former big leaguer Matt Holliday, was on the phone with his representative, Scott Boras.

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