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

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.

Holliday talked about his two-pitch battle this week versus Skenes.

"I was excited," he said. "I got to face him and probably (again) in that futures game thing or whatever that is. It's pretty cool to be able to compete against him. Seems like a pretty awesome dude, and it was pretty fun.

"Throwing 102. It's pretty fast. I felt comfortable, but a matter of time before the at-bats get to the point that I like. ... I'm thinking maybe mid-season form I like my chances in that at-bat, but it's still early. But he looked pretty good."

Got to like the kid's confidence.

And the Orioles group of prospects will certainly get a lot of attention with Baltimore ranked as the No. 1 farm in the game right now.

This is one possible lineup for that Spring Breakout game:

CF – Enrique Bradfield Jr.
SS – Jackson Holliday
3B – Coby Mayo
1B – Heston Kjerstad
DH – Samuel Basallo
LF – Colton Cowser
2B – Connor Norby
RF – Dylan Beavers
C – Silas Ardoin or Maverick Handley

Pitchers who could take the mound during that game, which is scheduled for seven innings, include Cade Povich, Chayce McDermott and Seth Johnson.

The O’s don’t currently have a second catcher in their Baseball America team top 30 prospects list so, with Basallo not throwing yet due to a stress fracture in his elbow, Ardoin or Handley could move up. Ardoin was the club’s fourth-round pick in 2022. The Orioles took Handley in the sixth round in 2019.

If you want Kjerstad in a more natural outfield spot and not at first base, the O’s could move Mayo to first and put Max Wagner at third. Lot of ways they could go.

But it will just be fun to see so many prospects on the field at one time. And getting the national television stage as well. It figures to be another night for the club’s player development operation to shine.

You can probably tell by the dateline on this story that I have arrived at spring training in Sarasota, Fla. I feel good, but must admit, I did not report in the best shape of my life, and the ball is not coming out of my hand as I would like right now. Still, I will be covering several games over the next week or so, beginning with today's Orioles-Yankees contest at Ed Smith Stadium. 

The Orioles at 7-1 have the best spring record of all 30 MLB clubs.

Today's game will be televised live on MASN and also broadcast on O's Radio, heard in Baltimore on WBAL NewsRadio and 98 Rock. 



Orioles and Yankees lineups for game at Ed Smith S...
Spring training this, that and the other

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