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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Jackson Holliday Will Be Fine

Why you shouldn't be worried that MLB's top prospect is back in Triple-A

*Cover Photo: The Baltimore Banner

Look, they say that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports. That could not be any truer.

I know everything you need to know about struggle and failure, especially in the game of baseball and at the plate. I've been through slumps, I've had times where I just don't see the ball, I've had times where I just don't have any confidence. Believe me, I know everything about failure in the game. If you don't believe me, then here's my batting line the past three seasons in DII club baseball.

  • 2021-2022: 8 G, 5-for-21 (.238), 8 RBI, 2 K, 5 BB, .407 OBP, .646 OPS

  • 2022-2023: 15 G, 7-for-40 (.175), 10 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K, .283 OBP, .558 OPS

  • 2023-2024: 10 G, 3-for-24 (.125), 6 RBI, 2 BB, 8 K, .214 OBP, .339 OPS

Do you believe me now?

So I know exactly what Jackson Holliday is going through right now. The only difference is that I am a 23-year-old senior in college who's in his final years of playing this game. Holliday is a 20-year-old former first overall pick straight out of high school with a big league dad, the pressure of being the game's top prospect, and all of the pressure of the fans, the franchise, and the media falling down on him.

I cannot imagine what he is going through right now.

That is why he needs extra time with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides. That is why his demotion is necessary. He needs something to get him on a groove and to get his confidence back up. Many scuffling hitters need that big moment in order for them to tell themselves again "I can do it." In the summer of 2022, after scuffling in college ball and going down with a knee injury, all it took for me to get back on track for the summer season was a 2-for-2 in my summer debut, and then I went onto bat .290 the rest of the summer. That same year, Adley Rutschman was a consencious top prospect who debuted batting .176 before his first big league home run, which led him to grooving and finishing second place in AL Rookie of the Year voting.

It might only take that 3-for-4 or that big time home run in Triple-A ball for Holliday to feel good at the plate again.

Jackson Holliday is looking to get his groove back again in the Minors. Photo: The Baltimore Banner

Let's be honest. At the big league level, he was going through tough times not necessarily physically and mechanically, but mentally. He was beaten by big league pitching, even though his swings looked fine from a mechanical perspective. He had trouble timing up meatballs for fastballs, often late on heat or getting locked up and taking them for strike 3. The called third strike in Kansas City with the bases loaded was evidence of that.

But again, the pressure he was under was incredible. I know I could never handle the pressure that he was and is still currently under. Dingbats on social media were already calling a 20-year-old a bust just two days into his big league career. I mean, people are just eating him alive on social media. Plus, he has the pressure of being like his father. Matt was a 7x All-Star who won the World Series in 2011 and finished with 2,096 career hits. I guess from the perspective of certain media outlets in sports, you can't mention one Holliday without the other.

Jackson is now back in a learning environment where he can adjust, relax, and just go out there and play ball. He's got the support from Tides skipper Buck Britton as well as the rest of the Tides and the very supportive fan base down there in Norfolk, Virginia. This is where he will see the ball and get his timing back, where he will see the fastball and be aggressive with it, where he can go back to his natural whole-field approach as opposed to stressing solely on getting some sort of hit.

Rick Dempsey, the Orioles' 1983 World Series MVP, said it very well at a private event that I attended on Sunday. Guys like Holliday have a million things going through their minds when they step up to the plate, especially if they are struggling. If a batter can step back and simply think "see the ball, hit the ball," then such a simple mentality like that will lead to good results and better swings.

I'm telling you. Once he runs into one, once he has that big night where he gets a pair of his and some RBIs, he will be back and better than before. Be patient with this process, Birdland. I am because I know what it's like to be a slumping batter, let alone a batter in this game. It's not impossible to get out of a slump, but it isn't the easiest thing either.

Trust this process, and understand that Jackson Holliday will be fine. He will be back bigger than ever before you know it.

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