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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Number 1 on Number 1

Updated: Mar 20

Jackson Holliday and Paul Skenes square off in Orioles’ 9-8 win

*Cover Photo Credit: John Topoleski

Both the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates have incredible talent on the rise in each organization. Much of that was on full display in yesterday's 9-8 Orioles win.

Former Orioles top prospect outfielder Kyle Stowers went 2-for-2 and displayed his power with his second homer of the spring. Catcher Silas Ardoin collected a hit and 2 RBIs today. The Pirates’ 2021 first overall pitch, catcher of the future Henry Davis, swatted a 3-run bomb of Orioles ace Corbin Burnes.

However, the main headline of the day was the battle of the number one overall picks. Enter the Orioles’ Jackson Holliday (2022, Stillwater High School) and the Bucs’ Paul Skenes (2023, Louisiana State University).

These two are highly considered a massive part of the future of Major League Baseball. Holliday is the number one prospect in the entire nation according to MLB Pipeline, though Skenes is not far behind him at number 3. Both are flying through the Minor Leagues and could see their Major League debuts happen in 2024. Holliday flew through all four levels of the Minors last season, hitting .323 across all four stops. The Bucs have Skenes moving quickly through their system. He debuted with Low-A Bradenton, tossing two scoreless starts of just three innings but allowing him to skip High-A Greensboro for Double-A Altoona.

Fans knew the importance and the excitement surrounding the match up between Holliday and Skenes. The game was not being broadcasted or streamed anywhere, so fans made sure to keep other fans updated on social media the battle between these number 1 picks.

The two only met once, as the Pirates have kept Skenes on a fairly strict innings limit since drafting him. Their meeting happened in the bottom of the first, as Holliday batted leadoff vs. the 2023 College World Series champion. The battle ended on a groundout to second baseman Nick Gonzales on a 100 MPH fastball. Skenes then proceeded to retire Adley Rutschman and Heston Kjerstad as he completed his lone inning of work.

2022 No. 1 pick Jackson Holliday faced off against 2023 No. 1 pick Paul Skenes yesterday.

Holliday may have not won the first battle between him and Skenes. However, that did not stop him from having a productive day overall. He went 2-for-4 and collected a 6th inning RBI triple to score 2023 first rounder Enrique Bradfield Jr. It was his first extra base hit and RBI of Spring Training. He continues his audition for the Opening Day roster so he can find himself in Brandon Hyde's middle infield with 2023 AL Rookie of the Year and former Number 1 prospect Gunnar Henderson.

Fans would have loved to have seen these two face each other again during the day. However, they can certainly get comfortable seeing them take the baseball nation by storm soon at the big league level as two of the many faces of the future of baseball. They will not meet a ton during the regular season given that the Orioles and Pirates is interleague play. However, whenever the next time comes for these two to meet, Holliday will look to prove the upper hand and get some revenge from their memorable first meeting at Spring Training.

The Orioles are back at CoolToday Park in North Port, Florida, to take on the Atlanta Braves for the second time this week. Tyler Wells, who had a brief stint in Double-A Bowie last summer, gets the start for Baltimore. Holliday is batting 8th at shortstop. These two teams met on Monday as the Orioles came away with a 2-1 split squad win.

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